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Wave (2013)

by Sonali Deraniyagala

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6925423,545 (3.73)74
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.--Publisher description.… (more)

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» See also 74 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
The day after Christmas in 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing at a Sri Lankan resort with her husband, two young sons, and parents when a tsunami struck, sweeping them all away. Sonali was the only survivor. While this is the story of her survival and loss, it is also the story of recovery, hope, and the healing power of memory. After searching tirelessly for her family, the destruction she saw forced her to realize that they were gone forever, and Sonali fell into despair, spending her days drinking, sleeping, popping pills, and isolating, and her night with guilt-fueled nightmares. But in time, happier memories began to creep in and became her salvation. This is a fearless memoir: the author doesn't hesitate to reveal the truth of her progress through grief in all of its stages. ( )
  Cariola | Feb 9, 2020 |
This book takes the unimaginable death and destruction of the tsunamis which followed the Indonesia earthquake in 2004 and brings down to a concrete and personal level of one woman who lost her everything. The author and her family were on vacation in Sri Lanka over the Christmas holidays when they were swept away by the tsunami which struck without warning. She lost her husband, parents, and two young sons. In language brutal, poetic, and honest she documents her emotional state, immediately after the crisis and for several years afterwards, as she remembers their lives together, and tries to come to terms with her loss. This is a powerful and moving book, and I'm glad I read it, but I can understand why someone would choose not to.

3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jan 13, 2020 |
Wave is sad. It tells an incredibly sad story about the author and her family. As I have had a recent tragic event in my life, I understand the author. It's a melancholy novel as it should be. The love of her family is at the foremost, and as she allows herself to remember, we witness her healing process. A profound novel that will stay in my heart. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Jun 28, 2019 |
An above-average effort from a thoughtful amateur. For those with a particular interest in the 2004 tsunami, this is a worthy point of view. Not quite up to the gold-standards in grief memoir (for me, [b:The Year of Magical Thinking|7815|The Year of Magical Thinking|Joan Didion|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327878638s/7815.jpg|1659905] and [b:An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination|3291844|An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination|Elizabeth McCracken|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1420829798s/3291844.jpg|3328337]) but quite compelling. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
I don't read a lot of memoirs, so even less memoirs recounting and coping with horrible events. But this one stands out as small, human, sharp, flawed, fragrant, fetid with details and senses and pain.

Touches of her coping with the loss of her mother and her father and her husband and her son and her other son helped me think about how my divorce left me in a state of embarrassment and hiding from telling the story.

But we should be open to telling our stories, or as she writes, "I am left feeling I've blundered into a stranger's life." That is precisely how it feels to be embarrassed about a death or an illness or a job loss or a divorce or some other splinter in time and habit that one hides and paves over instead of watching for signs of new life sprouting out of it.

And I don't want to say that her telling her story brings life sprouting out of it, like it's a blessing. It's just the way life is.

This is a moving story. ( )
1 vote Wattsian | Mar 9, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
This is possibly the most moving book I have ever read about grief, but it is also a very, very fine book about love. For grief is the black hole that is left in our lives when we lose someone irreplaceable – a child, a parent, a lover. It is the negative image that, in its blackness, sometimes reveals love with a greater clarity than its positive counterpart. And while in Wave love reveals itself by the bleak intensity of the pain of absolute, irreplaceable loss, it is in the end a love story, and a book about the importance of love.
 
It is a nightmarish tale of what happened that desperate day and the desolation and rage that followed. At times, Deraniyagala’s honesty shocks.
added by Nickelini | editthe Telegraph, Beth Jone (Mar 26, 2013)
 
The word “brave” is used a lot to describe those who write about their deepest traumas — too often, I think — but it’s an apt description of Deraniyagala. She has fearlessly delivered on memoir’s greatest promise: to tell it like it is, no matter the cost. The result is an unforgettable book that isn’t only as unsparing as they come, but also defiantly flooded with light.
 
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To Alexandra and Kristiana
First words
I thought nothing of it at first.
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Starved of their loveliness, I feel shrunken. Diminished and faded, without their sustenance, their beauty, their smiles.
Occasionally an insensitive relative might walk away if I mention my anguish, and I reel from the humiliation of my pain being outlandish, not palatable to others.
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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.--Publisher description.

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