In the last years of the twentieth century, Richard Lloyd Parry found himself in the vast island nation of Indonesia, one of the most alluring, mysterious and violent countries in the world. For thirty-two years it had been paralysed by the grip of the dictator and mystic General Suharto. But now the age of Suharto was reaching its end, giving way to a new era of chaos and superstition - the 'time of madness' predicted centuries before by poets and seers.On the island of Borneo, tribesmen embarked on a savage war of head-hunting and cannibalism. Vast jungles burned uncontrollably; money lost its value; there were plane crashes and volcanic eruptions. After the tumultuous fall of Suharto came the vote of independence from Indonesia for the tiny occupied country of East Timor. And it was here, trapped in the besieged compound of the United Nations, that Lloyd Parry reached his own painful, personal crisis.
In the summer of 2000, Jane Steare received the phone call every mother dreads. Her daughter Lucie Blackman - tall, blonde, and twenty-one years old - had stepped into the vastness of a Tokyo summer and disappeared forever. That winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a desolate seaside cave.Her disappearance was mystifying. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? What did her work, as a 'hostess' in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo, really involve? And could Lucie's fate be linked to the disappearance of another girl some ten years earlier?Over the course of a decade, Richard Lloyd Parry has travelled to four continents to interview those caught up in the story and been given unprecedented access to Lucie's bitterly divided family to reveal the astonishing truth about Lucie and her fate.
On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned.It was Japan's greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways.Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own. What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up?Ghosts of the Tsunami is a classic of literary non-fiction, a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe, and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins.