12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary piece of true crime reportage,
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This review is from: People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan's Shadows (Paperback)
I have almost finished this book but I couldn't wait any longer to share my thoughts on it. As an aficionado of true crime I am always looking for something that stands out from the hordes of sordid and ploddingly told tales that emerge with predictable regularity. People Who Eat Darkness is definitely a cut above and will likely enter the pantheon of greats such as In Cold Blood, The Executioner's Song, Helter Skelter, The Onion Field and the like.
Not only is the setting highly unusual and vividly depicted, but the villain of the piece is equally fascinating. However, the real pleasure comes from Mr Parry's exquisite attention to detail and professional approach to telling this tale. I don't think people can quite appreciate the work involved in writing these books. Everyone who comes into contact with this story will be affected, but for Mr Parry - who clearly cared deeply about the case and its principals - to have devoted so much time and effort in order to capture every little nuance and detail, must have left deep psychological scars. The Nietzschean quote: 'When you look into the abyss, it also looks into you', comes to mind.
Of course, the story itself is absolutely devastating and stands as a savage indictment of the Tokyo police department, who clearly don't see things in the same light as most reasonable people. The Japanese justice system in general will strike Western readers as quite bizarre. I feel very deep sympathy for the family who had to endure such frustration at the hands of these uncaring officials, who seem to value their own precious dignity above everything else. This is the kind of book I would usually thrust on other people to read but I have learned from long experience that not everyone enjoys such dark subject matter. That is their loss. A powerful and stunning account of a truly memorable crime.
I would just like to add one comment, addressed to the publishers. The type size in this book (Vintage Books paperback) is ridiculously small. I think it is about a size 9. Not only that but it is a serif type (Times New Roman). The book is also full of footnotes, and these are printed at the bottom of the page in I think around a size 6 type. Its also not very well printed, so the effect is of reading dark grey type rather than black. This makes it extremely difficult to read. Type should never be smaller than size 10 if you want reasonable legibility and if it absolutely has to be smaller, then use a sans serif type for crying out loud.