A brave, intimate, beautifully crafted memoir by a survivor of the tsunami that struck the Sri Lankan coast in 2004 and took her entire family.
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.
SRILANKA, JULY DECEMBER 2005
Someone had removed the brass plate with my father's name on it from the gray front wall. It had his name etched in black italics. I sat in the passenger seat of my friend Mary-Anne's car, my eyes clinging to the holes in the wall where that brass plate was once nailed.
This had been my parents' home in Colombo for some thirty- five years, and my childhood home. For my sons it was their home in Sri Lanka. They were giddy with excitement when we visited every summer and Christmas. Vik took his first steps here, and Malli, when younger, called the house "Sri Lanka." And in our last year, 2004, when Steve and I had sabbaticals from our jobs and the four of us spent nine months in Colombo until September, this house was the hub of our children's lives.
This was where we were to return to on the afternoon of the twenty- sixth of December. My mother had already given Saroja, our cook, the menu for dinner. This was where they ...
The experience of reading tumultuous and beautiful Wave is like the Zen proverb that advises, "Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life - after that you cannot be deceived." The book is both a memento mori and an elegy, a lasting monument to the lost. Read Wave and you will never forget Vik, Malli and Steve, or that love is indelible and loss is inevitable.
(Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (729 words).
Wave is not a linear account of the tsunami, and because the author's stark focus is internal, the disaster and events in the months and years that followed, are often hazy. Because of this, it's worth taking a look at the magnitude and nature of the tsunami the author survived.
A tsunami is a series of giant waves caused either by an earthquake or a volcanic eruption under the sea. Either of these phenomena leads to water displacement which in turn churns large quantities of water into massive waves. A tsunami is not just one wave but a series of walls of water minutes or even up to an hour apart.
The 2004 tsunami, which caused widespread destruction, was triggered by a massive earthquake of magnitude 9.0 just off the coast of the ...
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