Winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2014
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 her.
On the morning of the 26th December 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband and her two young sons in the tsuanmi that she miraculously survived.
In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny. Then, over the ensuing years, 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.
`The most powerful and haunting book I have read in years... Sonali Deraniyagala 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