by Sonali Deraniyagala; Knopf
Imagine yourself on a seaside vacation in Sri Lanka, with your husband, your young sons and your parents. It’s the day after Christmas, and life is rich and good, you and your husband are still in love, your parents still healthy, your boys bright, interested, loved by all. And then imagine, out the window, a wave where no wave should be and the dawning realization that you must run, must leap with your family into a jeep, which speeds toward safety until the wave swamps it, tumbles it, tearing from you your husband, your boys, leveling the hotel where your parents wait, leaving you clinging to a branch, alive when the wave recedes but stripped of everything. How do you, left utterly alone, go on? Deraniyagala’s unmitigatedly honest, immeasurably potent memoir recounts the eight dark years since the 2004 tsunami erased her life, and her reluctant progress toward rejoining the living. Relentless in its explication of grief, this massively courageous, tenaciously unsentimental chronicle of unthinkable loss and incremental recovery explodes—and then expands—our notion of what love really means. —Pam Houston
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