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Publisher Description

**Kirkus Best Books of the Year (2013)**
**Kansas City Star Best Books of the Year (2013)**

A passionate student of Japanese poetry, theater, and art for much of her life, Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake-and-tsunami-devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness, listen to survivors, and experience their terror and exhilaration in villages and towns where all shelter and hope seemed lost. In an eloquent narrative that blends strong reportage, poetic observation, and deeply felt reflection, she takes us into the upside-down world of northeastern Japan, where nothing is certain and where the boundaries between living and dying have been erased by water.
The stories of rice farmers, monks, and wanderers; of fishermen who drove their boats up the steep wall of the wave; and of an eighty-four-year-old geisha who survived the tsunami to hand down a song that only she still remembered are both harrowing and inspirational. Facing death, facing life, and coming to terms with impermanence are equally compelling in a landscape of surreal desolation, as the ghostly specter of Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power complex, spews radiation into the ocean and air. Facing the Wave is a testament to the buoyancy, spirit, humor, and strong-mindedness of those who must find their way in a suddenly shattered world.

Science & Nature
February 12
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

One Suitcase ,

A compelling story

Ehrlich’s account of the March 11, 2011 tsunami that decimated a large portion of Japan’s Honshu Island and the storm's aftermath weaves her first-hand observation with survivor accounts to tell a compelling story. The book is divided into material from three visits, the first visit in June, three months after the tsunami, the 2nd three months later, and the third, three more months later in December 2011. For me the first visit in June which amounts to 60% of the book delivered the most vivid and substantive material; I thought her two later visits added little to the story.

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