Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
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“A granular, tactile working through of grief, regret and survivor’s guilt . . . A form of greatness reverberates from Deraniyagala’s simple and supple prose . . . Her book is therapeutic because it isn’t therapeutic at all.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times
“Radiant . . . The extremity of Deraniyagala’s story seizes the attention, but it’s the beauty of how she expresses it that makes it indelible . . . [She is] a writer of such extraordinary gifts . . . Wave is a small, slender book, but it is enormous on the inside.” —Laura Miller, Salon
On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she emerges reluctantly, slowly allowing her memory to take her back through the rich and joyous life she’s mourning, from her family’s home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her.
Praise for Wave
“An indelible and unique story of loss and resolution written with breathtaking refinement and courage . . . In rinsed-clear language, Deraniyagala describes her ordeal, surreal rescue, and deep shock, attaining a Didionesque clarity and power. We hold tight to every exquisite sentence as, with astounding candor and precision, she tracks subsequent waves of grief . . . But here, too, are sustaining tides of memories that enable her to vividly, even joyfully, portray her loved ones.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“A devastating but ultimately redemptive memoir . . . The craft and control reflect an exceptional literary command . . . Excellent. Reading Deraniyagala’s account proves almost as cathartic as writing it must have been.”— Kirkus Reviews(starred)
“This memoir of loss is both heartbreaking and astonishingly beautiful.”—Billy Heller, New York Post
Sonali Deraniyagala teaches in the Department of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is currently a visiting research scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, New York, working on aspects of post-disaster economic recovery. The author lives in New York.