People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan's Shadows by Richard Parry
|People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan's Shadows by Richard Parry|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: This deeply moving true crime story is a fabulous read. Don't miss it!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: February 2012|
Just over a decade ago, 21-year-old Lucie Blackman went to Japan in search of adventure, excitement, and a way to pay off her debts. A couple of months later, her disappearance set in motion a high profile investigation which would see her face plastered over the news for some time in this country. As so often happens with the media, though, there was a huge amount of interest in her plight, and her family's desperate search for her, and then, with the mystery looking less and less likely to be solved, the papers found something else to report on. Just over half a year later, there was a tragic end to the tale as her dismembered body was discovered.
Being of a similar age to Lucie at the time, I remember the case vaguely - in particular the UK press criticising Tim Blackman, Lucie's father, for not reacting in the way expected of the parent of a missing girl. I have to be honest, though, my memory went only as far as the very basics. Reading Richard Lloyd Parry's in-depth analysis was a shocking and deeply moving insight into the case, which looks at Lucie herself, the culture of Japan, and the strange history of the man who would eventually become the prime suspect in this case.
Parry is a journalist who was in Japan to follow the Lucie Blackman case as it unwound. He's also managed to stay friendly with Lucie's family and many of the other principle people involved - no mean feat given the deep divide between Lucie's parents Jane and Tim. One of the really impressive parts of this book is the way he manages to portray so many people in such a sympathetic manner. He also provides a fascinating insight into Japanese society, especially the hostess work which Lucie was doing when she died and the major differences in the way both the police and the courts work compared to in this country. Parry's many years spent in Asia make him an ideal person to explain the culture to those of us who are unfamiliar with it.
I have to warn you, it's a deeply upsetting read at times. It never feels remotely gratuitous but it's natural given the subject matter than parts will be hard to read. I don't think I've ever cried at a non-fiction book but found myself weeping at this one on three separate occasions.
Absolutely huge recommendation - definitely one of my top 10 non-fiction books of all time.
For another really interesting look at Japanese society, check out Japan Through The Looking Glass by Alan Macfarlane.
You can read more book reviews or buy People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan's Shadows by Richard Parry at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan's Shadows by Richard Parry at Amazon.com.
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