The Wave

The Wave : A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami

3.69 (12,757 ratings by Goodreads)
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The book opens and we are inside the wave: thirty feet high, moving at twenty-five mph, racing two miles inland. And from there into the depths of the author's despair: how to live now that her life has been undone? Sonali Deraniyagala tells her story - the loss of her two boys, her husband, and her parents - without artifice or sentimentality. In the stark language of unfathomable sorrow, anger, and guilt: she struggles through the first months following the tragedy -- someone always at her side to prevent her from harming herself, her whole being furiously clenched against the reality she can't face; and then reluctantly emerging and, over the ensuing years, slowly allowing her memory to function again. Then she goes 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 while learning the balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and her fundamental need to keep her family, somehow, still with more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 141 x 222 x 23mm | 354g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Virago Press Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1844089282
  • 9781844089284
  • 177,061

Review quote

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 Scotsmanshow more

About Sonali Deraniyagala

Sonali Deraniyagala has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Cambridge University and a doctorate in Economics from the University of Oxford. She is on the faculty of the Department of Economics at SOAS, University of London and is a research scholar at Columbia more

Rating details

12,757 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 26% (3,255)
4 35% (4,452)
3 27% (3,412)
2 9% (1,179)
1 4% (459)
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