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Publisher's Summary

On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as 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; all the while learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her.

©2013 Sonali Deraniyagala (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)
"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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Miriam
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 03-12-13

Not easy to tear myself away.

What did you love best about Wave?

Simple, declarative prose. The lector had a lovely, warm, wonderful voice, perfect for the task.

Any additional comments?

Difficult, painful account of recovering from the loss of closest family, children, parents, spouse. The experience of coming to terms with the places and ephemera associated with their lives. To flinch and turn away? And thereby continue a clenched life? or find a way to coexist and maybe tentatively embrace the visual and audible and gustatory reminders?<br/>A very brave account.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Danielle
  • Philadelphia, United States Minor Outlying Islands
  • 03-08-13

Heart-wrenching and honest

Would you listen to Wave again? Why?

yes

What other book might you compare Wave to and why?

hard to compare this book to another since the rareness of this tragedy is almost unheard of.

Any additional comments?

Great listen. The grieving process of the author is authentic and does not hold back on thoughts of her life after the wave....you are left wondering if she will ever recover from the tragedy she experiences.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • CBlox
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 03-19-13

Tragic. Raw. Heart-Ripping!

This story really is an insight into Sonali's slide into deep depression and how she tries and tries to let loved ones go. I most appreciated her candor and details of the tragic events which took the lives of her family and parents. This book (more than any other book ive read) allows the listener/reader to introspect on how they would handle such a tragedy. Would we be brave and strong? Would we give up? Would we be reminded every day of our loss by tiny daily things?

listen to this book with an open mind as to how you might deal with the unforseen.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 06-10-14

the unbearable weight of being

do you find your modern life uncomfortably light ?
do you wonder how you'd measure up in a real storm ?
would you like to hear from someone who endured the unendurable ?

sonali deraniyagala (SD) is an odd but appropriate authority on all this
she was pampered as a child ( maid, cook, driver, private schools etc.)
her middling academic career with a husband and 2 boys seemed a good fit

but, in the span of a morning she lost her parents and her entire family
the fact that the tsunami spared her life seemed almost cruel at first
she spent the better part of the next two years being watched by friends

they, of course, thought she'd try to kill herself and they were quite right
her temptation to just crawl in a hole and join her family was overwhelming
her tantrums, alcohol and dark theatrical moods were endured by her family

it's impressive how her achingly slow recovery didn't fit a modern stereotype
SD doesn't seem to dwell on freud, medications, ECT or the latest fad
the extended network of her Sri Lankan family gets most of the credit

SD's multiple academic contacts and a chance to travel also helped her
it really makes me wonder how a modern "bowling alone" person would do
i certainly don't have a web of support like that at home or at work

at it's heart, the book is SD's meditation on grief as the price we pay for love
she misses them all so much because she loved them all so much
SD's surviving the storm was fate, that SD goes on without them is brave







2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Tamah
  • Redondo Beach, CA, United States
  • 08-04-13

Unremitting grief.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Wave?

Although we all know it logically, Wave reminds us of how quickly life can change.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • fred
  • LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States
  • 03-13-13

A memoir of great emotional depth

"healing in progress". She expresses her loss so intimately that the reader not only grieves with her, but also heals with her.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Depressing and hard to listen to.

What would have made Wave better?

I can't imagine this story being made any easier to write or listen to, so I don't know how to answer the question. The sense of overwhelming despair was just too much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A delicate balance.

How do you tell a story like this without overwhelming your reader. Ms. Deraniyagala uses a delicate balance of uninhibited honesty and an innate wisdom of just how much to tell. She does not hide from the unfairness in the world, even when the unfairness come from her own actions. This was a beautifully authentic book to read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully written heartrending tale

I would highly recommend this book.The story is expertly and poignantly narrated. What a courageous woman!

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Exquisite story of loss and acceptance

Beautifully written and moving story of a loss of a family, the darkness that follows, and the deep resilience of the human spirit to manage through. This book makes it on the list of the top 10 best books I've ever read. Dr. Sonali was one of my lecturers at SOAS and she inspired me then and continues to inspire me now. I couldn't stop crying in the end!