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Facing the Wave

A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami

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eBook published by Pantheon (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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**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.

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**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.

Product Details
eBook (240 pages)
Published: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780307907325
Other books byGretel Ehrlich
  • The Future of Ice

    The Future of Ice
    A Journey Into Cold
    This book was written out of Gretel Ehrlich’s love for winter–for remote and cold places, for the ways winter frees our imagination and invigorates our feet, mind, and soul–and also out of the fear that our “democracy of gratification” has irreparably altered the climate. Over the course of a year, Ehrlich experiences firsthand the myriad expressions of cold, giving us marvelous histories of wind, water, snow, and ice, of ocean currents and weather cycles. From Tierra del Fuego in the south to Spitsbergen, east of Greenland, at the very top of the world, she explores how our very consciousness is animated and enlivened by the archaic rhythms and erupting oscillations of weather. We share Ehrlich’s experience of the thrills of cold, but also her questions: What will happen to us if we are “deseasoned”? If winter ends, will we survive? From the Trade Paperback edition.

    A Blizzard Year

    A Blizzard Year
    "Ehrlich ventures confidently into new terrain in her eloquent and affecting debut children's novel. [Her] prose, as pristine and spare as her snow-covered landscape, portrays the quiet drama of the changing seasons -- in both their consistency and unpredictability -- as well as a family attuned to nature's every nuance." --Publisher's Weekly, starred review

    Questions of Heaven

    Questions of Heaven
    The Chinese Journeys of an American Buddhist
    A Haunting pilgrimage to one of China's holy mountains "Ehrlich . . . writes with tremendous grace and passion." —Miles Harvey, Outside "In spare, lyrical prose, Ehrlich inventively recounts her 1995 spiritual trip to China and Tibet. . . . Like one of the landscape paintings of which she writes, Ehrlich's book is at once delicate, deeply considered and moving."  —Publishers Weekly, starred review "Ehrlich's highly personal travelogue centers on her attempt to find what remains of [the] once-flourishing spiritual culture in the sacred mountains of western China. . . . [Ehrlich] intersperses her personal narrative with bits of the intellectual, political, historical and spiritual."  —Alexandra Hall, The New York Times Book Review "If Questions of Heaven has a message, it may reside in the author's belief in a bond across geography and generations, one transcending space and time."  —David L. Ulin, The Village Voice "This is travel writing at its best." —Glenn Masuchika, Library Journal

    This Cold Heaven

    This Cold Heaven
    Seven Seasons in Greenland
    For the last decade, Gretel Ehrlich has been obsessed by an island, a terrain, a culture, and the treacherous beauty of a world that is defined by ice. In This Cold Heaven she combines the story of her travels with history and cultural anthropology to reveal a Greenland that few of us could otherwise imagine. Ehrlich unlocks the secrets of this severe land and those who live there; a hardy people who still travel by dogsled and kayak and prefer the mystical four months a year of endless darkness to the gentler summers without night. She discovers the twenty-three words the Inuit have for ice, befriends a polar bear hunter, and comes to agree with the great Danish-Inuit explorer Knud Rasmussen that “all true wisdom is only to be found far from the dwellings of man, in great solitudes.” This Cold Heaven is at once a thrilling adventure story and a meditation on the clarity of life at the extreme edge of the world.

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