Richard Lloyd Parry is like the Roberto Bolano of nonfiction, but swap out Chile with modern Japan and the fictional stories with ones that are painfully, scarily true. And while his new book, Ghosts of the Tsunami, lacks the cataclysmic gut punch of his previous book, People Who Eat Darkness, this catalog of victims of a natural disaster is just as haunting. Parry is really good at exposing how human folly and ignorance can lead effortlessly toward an unimaginable tragedy. He did that with the murder of Lucie Blackman in his previous book, and he does that here with the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, and more specifically one village that experienced loss that is well beyond comprehension. It begins with an account of Parry’s experience with the first minutes of the earthquake that caused the Tsunami. His relative safety contrasted with the devastation he will catalog throughout the rest of the books is glaring and obvious. The village in question is the Kamaya Village on the Sanriku coast of Japan. What happened there during the tsunami is the stuff of nightmares: one school, Okawa Elementary, due to circumstances that will always be a little murky, lost 74 students to the disaster. Parry, with grace and dignity, chronicles the aftermath of such an amazing loss of life as well as the trial that followed once a few pertinent details emerged about why there was such a loss of young life in this one school and no others. My one complaint with this book is that it is actually too short for the kind of story Parry is telling. You get glimpses of the horror experienced by the grieving families, such as that of Miho, whose loss rings harshest by book’s end, but I felt most of it was kept at arm’s length, while his previous book made me think the horror was in the next room. But still, this is a powerful and passionate account of a world upended and torn apart and the dignity a community somehow kept when they were trying to put it back together.