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People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman Hardcover – 24 Feb 2011
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People Who Eat Darkness is an extraordinary, compulsive and brilliant book. The account of the crime, the investigation and the trial - particularly in its knowledge and understanding of the Japan in which
this tragedy took place - is both insightful and gripping; the attempt to understand Obara is fascinating but never ghoulish; and finally, and most of all, the compassion for Lucie Blackman and her family is
very, very moving." (David Peace)
"This is In Cold Blood for our times - in calm, mesmeric, unshrinking prose, Richard Lloyd Parry investigates an unbearable, pitiless crime with an eye to the bigger story it tells us about the age we are living through - an age haunted by its own inner darkness; by a dread of the monsters that move undetected amongst us. The masterful rendering of a decade of painstaking research, the pages turn themselves, and on each page the reader learns an urgent truth they may wish they had remained blind to. A masterpiece of writing this surely is, but it is more than that - it is a committed, compassionate, courageous act of journalism that changes the way we think. Everyone who has ever loved someone and held that life dear should read this stunning book, and shiver." (Chris Cleave)
"'An extraordinary book, passionately and meticulously told, and memorable too for its intelligent refusal to judge, and its genuine compassion for every single character. But Lloyd Parry's real genius is to take you straight to the grim black heart of the crime at the centre of this unbearable family tragedy. I read it with my breath held and found I couldn't relax, think or get on with my life until I'd finished it.'" (Julie Myerson)
An incisive and compelling account of the case of Lucie BlackmanSee all Product description
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The sheer reach and scope of this book is quite something, Parry taking in many people from far and wide who were somehow connected to the murderer and the city over a number of years. Apparently in Japanese courts they have around a 99.85% conviction rate but, as Parry illustrates, this case was far from straight forward or a sure thing. There are many words and descriptions that spring to mind when learning of the Tokyo metro police department’s role in this case, competence is not one of them. We learn that, “Police sniffer dogs had been led over the area. But it had taken a specially formed team of forty elite detectives seven months to find the body. How could a modern police force have been so inept?” he wonders. He later sums up his thoughts on the police, “Unfortunately, they served an institution that was, and is, arrogant, complacent, and frequently incompetent. The inadequacy of its police force is one of the mysterious taboos of Japanese society, a subject that the media and politicians strain to avoid confronting, or even acknowledging.”
The sheer number of lives ruined by this man and his actions over such a long period is heart breaking. The behaviour of the tabloid media in the UK and Japan at times is predictably appalling and parasitic. Like the character assassination of the victim’s father or their refusal to allow them the privacy to visit the spot where their daughter’s remains were found without crowding around them and taking pictures. This book clearly covers some very sinister terrain and can make for some difficult reading but due to the quality of the writing it is a wonderful read and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you enjoyed this and are looking for books along similar lines, might I suggest “The Boy Who Fell Out of The Sky” and “Tokyo Vice”.
It's an immaculately researched and balanced account of the disappearance of a British woman working in Japan which manages to provide some insights into some aspects of Japanese society without falling into cliché or generalisations (although what it reveals about their police and courts is pretty damning). It also examines the different ways people deal with trauma and grief without judging those who behave differently than how we might expect or want them to.
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