Reviews for Wave


Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
It was a festive time. Economist Deraniyagala, her economist husband (they met at Cambridge), and their two young sons flew from London to Sri Lanka to spend the winter holidays with her parents. They were all staying in a hotel near their favorite national park on December 26, 2004, the day of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Deraniyagala describes their bewilderment as they flee the hotel and her terror as they are swept up by the 30-foot-high, racing wave that brutally changed everything. Only Deraniyagal survived. In rinsed-clear language, she 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, from suicidal despair to persistent fear, attempts to drown her pain in drink, "helpless rage," guilt and shame, and paralyzing depression. But here, too, are sustaining tides of memories that enable her to vividly, even joyfully, portray her loved ones. An indelible and unique story of loss and resolution written with breathtaking refinement and courage. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
A devastating but ultimately redemptive memoir by a survivor of the 2004 Sri Lankan tsunami, who must come to terms with the deaths of her husband, her young sons and her parents from the natural disaster that somehow spared her. Deraniyagala is an economist, and her matter-of-fact account is all the more powerful for its lack of literary flourish, though the craft and control reflect an exceptional literary command. Every word in these short, declarative sentences appears to have been chosen with great care, as if to sentimentalize the experience or magnify the horror (as if that were possible) would be a betrayal of all she has lost. It's no surprise when the first and strongest acknowledgment goes to her therapist: "This book would not exist without his guidance and persuasion. With him I was safe, to try and grasp the unfathomable, and to dare to remember." "The water was pulling me along with a speed I did not recognize, propelling me forward with a power I could not resist," she writes of what she later learned was "the biggest natural disaster ever," one that would claim a quarter of a million casualties. "I had to surrender to this chaos…," she continues. "My mind could not sort anything out." Eventually, the numbness of her survival gives way to profound guilt (she should have done something, she should never have brought them there), rage, a refusal to sleep (lest she awake to the fantasy that her family was still alive), an attempt to avoid any experience or memories she shared with them and an obsessive pull toward suicide. And then, as miraculously as her rescue, she eventually reached the point where "I want to remember. I want to know." The more she remembers about their life before the tsunami, and in greater depth and detail, she writes "I am stunned. I want to put a fist through these last six years and grab our life. Claim it back." Excellent. Reading her account proves almost as cathartic as writing it must have been. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 October #2

The Indian Ocean tsunami that broke loose on December 26, 2004, killed something like 230,000 people, including Deraniyagala's parents, husband, and two young sons. And though she opens by taking us straight into the wave, 30 feet high and rushing toward Sri Lanka at 25 miles an hour, her book is ultimately an account of her coping with her grief while also celebrating the memories of those she loved. As she ranges over her childhood in Colombo, meeting her English husband at Cambridge, and the birth of her children, we learn how she managed to keep these wrenching memories, and hence her family, with her.

[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 March #4

Deraniyagala's debut book recounts her life after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami took the lives of her parents, husband, and two sons in Sri Lanka. After being pulled from the muddy wasteland that was formerly the jungle surrounding her hotel, Sonali is taken to a hospital where the reality of her family's death creeps into her psyche. As their bodies are found, Sonali begins to withdraw from the world, searching the internet for the best way to kill herself, drinking every drop of alcohol she can find--including bottles of aftershave--and tormenting the renters of her parents' now vacant house. As she gradually returns to her life, she begins to find the absence of things intolerable, nearly breaking down when she doesn't hear her husband or sons in the house, secretly eating chocolate in the guest room. This is a story not about overcoming grief and loss, but of embracing reality in the face of pain and sadness. It packs an immense punch for being so short--or perhaps because it is so short. Conquering the clear difficulties that come with talking about such profound absences, Deraniyagala has written a book teaming with beautiful ruminations on the bittersweetness of memory and the precariousness of life. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Deraniyagala's debut book recounts her life after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami took the lives of her parents, husband, and two sons in Sri Lanka. After being pulled from the muddy wasteland that was formerly the jungle surrounding her hotel, Sonali is taken to a hospital where the reality of her family's death creeps into her psyche. As their bodies are found, Sonali begins to withdraw from the world, searching the internet for the best way to kill herself, drinking every drop of alcohol she can find--including bottles of aftershave--and tormenting the renters of her parents' now vacant house. As she gradually returns to her life, she begins to find the absence of things intolerable, nearly breaking down when she doesn't hear her husband or sons in the house, secretly eating chocolate in the guest room. This is a story not about overcoming grief and loss, but of embracing reality in the face of pain and sadness. It packs an immense punch for being so short--or perhaps because it is so short. Conquering the clear difficulties that come with talking about such profound absences, Deraniyagala has written a book teaming with beautiful ruminations on the bittersweetness of memory and the precariousness of life. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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