My favorite definition of art has always been Tolstoy’s: art is infection.
I am utterly infected by this book. I’m reading it, I can’t breathe, I feel sick, I can’t stop reading.
So I bought Wave as my birthday gift to myself and read it in gulps, stopping only to breathe again. The blurb for this memoir begins:
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.
That pretty much sums up the opening chapter, if you can somehow imagine what it is like to be packing for your return to your job as an economics professor in London, saying goodbye to your friend from California who has also been visiting family in Sri Lanka and enjoying a farewell stay at the beach when you must suddenly run for your lives with no time even to bang on your parents’ hotel room door.
I won’t spoil the rest of that breathless and awful chapter, but it is the rest that may well inform your marriage, as well as your relationship with your kids and your parents. It takes place in Colombo, London, and New York over seven years of Sonali putting the pieces back together. And it is, indeed, infectious, an awful and uplifting and oh so difficult journey through what she can bear to remember of life before that awful day.
I laughed with self-recognition at what she said to her dead husband about haunting the Dutch couple. I think you may, too. Her take on the report cover her father-in-law found is a definite Assume Love moment.
This is a memoir. It is not intended to help your marriage in any way. And yet, every new perspective does help. And this one is infectious. It is not just something to thing about; it affects every part of you. So I am adding it to my recommended reading for anyone in a life partnership or marriage or choosing a partner for one.
Let me know if you read it, too. I love comments.