In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family—parents, husband, sons—were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.
...the most exceptional book about grief I’ve ever read. In prose that’s immaculately unsentimental and raggedly intimate, Deraniyagala takes us deep into her unfathomable loss ... That she allows us to experience that same alertness without smothering us in sorrow is the miracle of this beautiful book. I was thunderstruck by Deraniyagala’s loss, yes, but most of all by her ability to reveal the whole 'outlandish truth' of her grief ... 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.
Wave is really two stories in one. The second story is about remembering the life of a family when they were happy. The first is about the stunned horror of a woman who lost, in one moment, her past, present, and future ... In witnessing something far-fetched, something brought out before us from the distant perimeter of human experience, we are in some way fortified for our own inevitable, if lesser, struggles ... The book gradually reveals itself to be about that greater thing on the other side of loss: love.
The restraint of her prose, with its short, simple declarative sentences, makes the scale of the horror all the more unbearable ... This is possibly the most moving book I have ever read about grief, but it is also a very, very fine book about love ... 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.