{Book Review} Aokigahara (The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest): Tara A. Devlin

Aokigahara (The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest): Tara A. Devlin

Reviewed By Fiona Dodwell

If you are into horror – or anything remotely creepy – the chances are that you will have heard about Japan’s infamous ‘Suicide Forest’ called Aokigahara. The location has served as the inspiration for several unsettling documentaries, films and websites – mainly because it is known as a scary place that people are drawn to when they are suicidal. It is, quite literally, a forest where many people have gone to die. Year after year, many bodies are found and collected, the remains in various states of decay.

It’s a very sad fact that the stressed, those in debt and those who are depressed turn to suicide as a way out, and Aokigahara has been a popular spot for this in Japan – with a high number of people travelling there to spend their last moments. With such an unsettling history, Aokigahara has even been fictionalised in film, such as in 2015’s Sea of Trees (starring Naomi Watts) and 2016’s horror flick, The Forest.

Aside from the foreboding feeling that the location can bring to somebody when they ponder the fact that the harsh landscape serves as many peoples final resting place, Aokigahara is actually fascinating, and in ‘Aokigahara – The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest‘ author Tara A Devlin tackles the landscape and all of the stories, myths and creepy legends surrounding it.

I am – hands down, big time – a massive fan of author Tara A Devlin. I have been a fan of her work since I discovered it a couple of years ago, and have been reading each of her releases with eagerness. Yes, I am a horror fan, but I am also fascinated by Japan, and Devlin’s work has it all. She truly knows her stuff. Having lived in Japan and studied the country, she has an insight that few can offer – particularly in relation to the country’s ghosts, myths, legends and history.

When I realised she had written a book exclusively exploring the infamous ‘Suicide Forest’ of Japan, I suspected it’d be a solid read, and I was right. Of course, a creepy forest that people go to die is always going to be an unsettling and eerie location to read about, but in this book, Devlin pulls apart every historical fact, every rumour, every myth and every urban legend to do with the forest – and she does it in an easy to read, engaging and interesting style. More than that, she treats the subject with respect, not falling for the cheesy Hollywood horror style that any writer could easily fall into when tackling such a subject.

In Aokigahara – The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest, Devlin tackles chapters on why the forest is popular for suicidal people; the history of the landscape and how the forest developed; the way police tackle suicide in Japan, and how bodies are removed from the place once they are uncovered.

Of course it is a difficult, sad and worrying subject to tackle (suicide as a topic can never be taken lightly) but Devlin writes about it with deep reverence and respect, detailing everything she has uncovered about Aokigahara and how it has come to be known as a “popular” suicide spot in Japan.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a fascination for creepy places in the world, or who has an interest in the darker side of Japan. Aokigahara – The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest is an interesting, well-written, well-researched book that, although it tackles very creepy and serious subjects, offers a lot of resources for learning and uncovering the truth behind the legends of such a famous place.

Aokigahara (The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest): Tara A. Devlin

What really lies in the forest’s depths?

Aokigahara is a mystery. Born out of an explosion, its roots twist and turn, the dense trees seeming to swallow anything that enters it whole. In recent years it has gained renown as a “suicide forest,” but it wasn’t always this way.

Aokigahara: The Truth Behind Japan’s Suicide Forest is fully researched from Japanese sources and looks at the history of the Sea of Trees, how it came to be, and why it became known worldwide as a popular suicide spot. It looks at why people choose the forest, the procedures the police follow when a body is discovered, and how the government is trying to turn its current image on its head.

Delve into the truth behind many of the forests terrifying legends, and discover why Aokigahara isn’t just a “suicide forest,” but an important part of Japan’s spiritual and cultural history.

Get ready to enter the Sea of Trees and uncover the real truth hiding in its dark depths.

You can buy Aokigahara from Amazon UK Amazon US

Fiona Dodwell

Fiona Dodwell has been writing fiction for almost 10 years, with several horror/paranormal titles released under various publishers. Alongside this, she is a freelance writer for various websites and magazines. She has written features for Warner Music, Made In Shoreditch Magazine, Music-news.com and Tremr.

Fiona has studied Psychology, Film Studies, Theology and Health & Social Care.

Her biggest passion is reading dark fiction, as well as creating new stories of her own – the creepier the better!

To find out more about Fiona:

Twitter: @Angel_devil982

Books:  Amazon Store

The Given

Madison Walter thought she had everything.

A good job. A perfect husband. A baby on the way.

When a terrible tragedy turns her life upside down, Madison knows things will never be the same again.

Intent on saving her marriage, she joins her husband on a luxury trip abroad. However, a week in the sun turns into an abyss of despair and horror.

Can Madison save her life, her sanity and her family before it’s too late?

You can buy The Given from Amazon UK Amazon US

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