A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami
By Sonali Deraniyagala
A profoundly moving, piercingly frank memoir of grief -- of learning to live with grief -- that begins in Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, when the author lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived.
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.
Sonali Deraniyagala was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She 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 University, New York City. She lives in New York, and North London.
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- Publication date:
12 Mar 2013
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In her unflinching writing you live through the horror and despair, but also feel her self-generated repair and the promise of survival — Harriet Walter, The Week