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Wave: A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami Hardcover – 12 Mar 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (12 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844089282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844089284
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

In her unflinching writing you live through the horror and despair, but also feel her self-generated repair and the promise of survival (Harriet Walter The Week)

This is the most powerful and haunting book I have read in years . . . In A Whaler's Dictionary there's the line, "Ishmael's impossible task is to write about a world that falls outside the realm of experience". And what Sonali Deraniyagala has done, in this beautifully written book, is to similarly give us a portrait of an event and its after-effects that we have never experienced or witnessed. At the same time she has brought back to life in this stunning memoir all those she lost, so much so that we will never forget them or their lives (Michael Ondaatje)

Out of unimaginable loss comes an unimaginably powerful book. Wave is unflinching as it charts the depths of grief, but it's also, miraculously, a beautifully detailed meditation on the essence of happiness. I came away from this stunning book with a new appreciation of life's daily gifts. I urge you to read Wave. You will not be the same person after you've finished (Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club)

Wave is a haunting chronicle of love and horrifying loss. The heartfelt writing manages to render the absence of the loved ones - the void, and the pain of it - in such a beautiful way that what was lost emerges as a new life form, one whose flesh and sinew are memory, sorrow, and undying love (Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country)

An amazing, beautiful book (Joan Didion)

Rarely are we given a story of such narrative force and poetic simplicity . . . Being spared, Deraniyagala seems doomed to spare herself nothing. Wave is a beautiful offering to readers. Bravissima (Mary Karr)

A stunning memoir of grief, and in the sense that it's "like" anything else, it is most "like" The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion's remarkable memoir... It is heart-stopping. Wave contains some of the best, most affecting writing about love and family that I have ever read . . . It is brutally unsentimental and completely raw: you periodically have to put it down and just breath. It is also wholly sui generis. I couldn't recommend it more highly. God, it's good, and God, she writes well: a love letter as well as a tragedy (India Knight Sunday Times)

The most moving book I have ever read about grief . . . a very, very fine book about love (William Dalrymple Scotsman)

Book Description

A profoundly moving, piercingly frank memoir of grief -- of learning to live with grief -- that begins in Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, when the author lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most beautiful thoughtful books on loss and grief, and survival, that Ive ever read. I so wish that the author had not had to write it. But I think that it was ultimately hopeful, and reflective, and I learned so much from it. I felt a sense of loss too when it was finished, loss of the thoughts of a great mind and spirit. I want to wish the author well, and let her know that her work has meant we can bear witness to her loss, but also share memories of her family with her.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book is like intruding on private grief expressed in a diary that you weren't really meant to find. You read it trying to find an expression of what it must be like to lose your whole family in one swoop of fate, and end believing that it's beyond expression. Can you live with it though? Unless you choose not to, what alternative is there but to hope it gets better? Some days are better than others, the book states, but it's a relative emotion. The book reminded me of a quote I once noted down in another autobiography of pain by Mikail Gilmour, "It will never be all right. It will never be all right again". No happy ending, no redemption, no reason, no explanation, just life in the raw. Hard going.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just could not put this down until I had finished it. It was heart breaking but had its funny moments. As a Sri Lankan myself I could identify with all the anecdotes and the quirkiness of the sri lankans. A wonderful book, what an articulate writer and my heart goes out to her.
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Format: Hardcover
I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and have always been haunted by the question: how do people survive the loss of everyone they have loved? There have been many well-written accounts by people faced with devastating losses but few that analyse every single stage of grief as minutely as does Sonali Deraniyagala, who lost her parents, her two sons and her husband in the 2004 Tsunami. This is a painful book to read. But it is beautifully written, with fine insights not least the final realisation that though the years have deadened the shock, the absence of her closest family goes on expanding.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author remembers the tsunami in which a 30 foot wave swept her away together with her husband, two children and her parents and only she survived. There are vivid descriptions of the tsunami itself and what it was like to be caught up in it; of the immediate aftermath (numbness, prolonged desire to commit suicide) and of a very gradual and partial recovery in which the dead husband and children and to a degree also the parents are brought, in a way, back to life as the author gradually connects with her memories of her earlier life and with the natural world.

This is a very moving book - very hard to read - but I found also very rewarding.

I note that the author thanks her therapist in the acknowledgements at the back of the book - the book makes perfect sense as it stands - but it did make me think it would be very interesting on another occasion to learn what the therapist had done to help with the process of mourning.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was so hard to read, because in her writing, Sonali Deraniyagala reaches to places that just hurt. She tells this story, with no embellishments, as it happened and the effect it had on her. You just want to reach out and try to hold her hand through the pain. Incredible that someone can have such a profound efffect on the reader.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book utterly compelling, it is written with such honesty and courage. As the mother of two small sons, I constantly fought the urge to overlay my own experience, my own daily life, with that of Sonali. How would I have coped in the same circumstances, how can one carry on daily life when everything that once made sense has been ripped apart? Even imagining what she went through gives me a chill. Sonali's writing is beautiful, spare and unflinchingly frank. Brutal facts are presented cheek by jowl with gentle recollections and reminiscences of their past family life in London but she resists the urge to be sentimental, just presents facts as they were, as she saw them, not dressed up. Amazingly, although we never know her family alive, they come to life through her words. I feel I know those little boys, her husband Steve, even her parents, though they are more shadowy. Above all, her message is that love endures - the book is also a paeon to appreciating what one has, whilst we still have it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As somebody who lost three close family in the Tsunami, I was a little apprehensive about reading this. It is a deeply moving and honest account of one woman's grief and tragedy and her brave journey to carry on and live a life which will never ever be the same. Thank you Sonali for putting this into words.
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