I have long been interested in this memoir, and have had a copy on my shelves for the longest time. So, naturally, I borrowed the audiobook from the library and read it mostly that way. I remember the Tsunami of 2004, but in a detached way. I saw the video clips, I watched the news, but it seemed so surreal… I was horrified by the devastation and could not imagine what it must have been like for the people caught so unaware.
Deraniyagala’s memoir attempts to shed some light on that. She was vacationing with her family at a beach hotel in Sri Lanka when the wave hit. She survived by chance – she was able to cling to a tree branch. But once the waters receded… her husband, her two young sons, and her parents were gone. She lost everything.
Obviously, her story is absolutely heart wrenching. I don’t know why I thought listening to this while on the way to work in the morning was a good idea. I showed up to work with puffy eyes and heart ache. But I couldn’t stop listening…. the narrator is perfect in that it sounded like she was on the verge of tears the entire time as well.
This story starts right with the wave, but carries us through the next several years of Deraniyagala’s grieving and healing process. She is very sparse with her words; it is all just so raw and honest. I felt her anguish, her depression and understood her suicidal thoughts and the helplessness of her ordeal. I am in awe of her bravery, in telling her story.
- by Sonali Deraniyagala
- Vintage, 2013
- 232 pages / 5 audio discs
- Source: purchased / library