Wave (Deraniyagala book)

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The Wave 2013 book.jpg
The cover of the book
Author Sonali Deraniyagala
Country Sri Lanka
Subject 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
Genre Memoir
Published Alfred A. Knopf
Media typePrint
ISBN 9780345804310

Wave: Life and Memories after the Tsunami is a memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala based on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. [1] [2] It was first published in 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf. [3] It recounts the story of the author's life before the tsunami struck the coast, and how it changed dramatically after the disaster. [4] It is written in the first-person narrative style. [5] The book received several awards and positive reviews from critics. [6]

Memoir Type of autobiographical or biographical writing

A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's/person’s life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist.

Sonali Deraniyagala is a Sri Lankan memoirist and economist.

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami Megathrust underwater earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Indian Ocean

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.



The book starts with the author at a beach-side hotel on the Sri Lankan coast with her family. [7] [8] She gives the first hint at the impending disaster in the second line of the book, "The ocean looked a little closer to our hotel than usual". [9] She describes that, within minutes, things changed before her eyes, and her family was lost when they were washed away somewhere "far away". The author frequently laments her loss throughout the book. Deraniyagala is nostalgic of days before the tidal wave. She yearns for those days to be back, but fate does not allow it. Critics have called it a book with a lot of grief. [8]

Years after the disaster, Deraniyagala owns her husband's flat in London, and she is suicidal. [10] [11] She writes that "an army of family and friends" watched over her, day and night. [8] She wishes to forget her haunted memories of the day, but is unable to do so. [11] [12] [13] [14]


The book received positive reviews from critics. Cheryl Strayed, in a review for The New York Times , wrote "I didn't feel as if I was going to cry while reading Wave. I felt as if my heart might stop." [8] Barnes & Noble called it "poignant, yet spare and unsentimental". [15] Marcia Kaye, an author and journalist, in her review for the Colombo Telegraph wrote,

Cheryl Strayed author, memoirist, blogger

Cheryl Strayed is an American memoirist, novelist, essayist and podcast host. The author of four books, her award-winning writing has been published widely in anthologies and major magazines.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S.

"Wave is somehow both jaggedly raw and beautifully crafted at the same time. Above all, it speaks to the power of the human spirit to survive, to love, to remember. It reminds us that these often mundane lives of ours and our families' must be cherished, because we never know when an extraordinary event may come along to change it all." [16]

The New York Times rated it as one of the top ten best books of 2013. [17] It was an "Amazon Best Book of the Month (March 2013)". [18] [19] Donna Seaman from Booklist called the story "indelible and unique". [18] [20] The Christian Science Monitor ranked it number 14 in "15 best nonfiction books of 2013". [21] Therese Purcell Nielsen and Erin Shea of Library Journal rated it one of 11 best memoirs of 2013. [22] Kirkus Reviews called it one of the "Best Books of 2013 for Vicarious Experiences You'll Never Forget", one of the lists of "Best Books of 2013 (Nonfiction)". [18] [23]

<i>Booklist</i> American book review magazine

Booklist is a publication of the American Library Association that provides critical reviews of books and audiovisual materials for all ages. Booklist's primary audience consists of libraries, educators, and booksellers. The magazine is available to subscribers in print and online. Booklist is published 22 times per year, and reviews over 7,500 titles annually. The Booklist brand also offers a blog, various newsletters, and monthly webinars. The Booklist offices are located in the American Library Association headquarters in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

<i>The Christian Science Monitor</i> Nonprofit news organization owned by the Church of Christ, Scientist

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is a nonprofit news organization that publishes daily articles in electronic format as well as a weekly print edition. It was founded in 1908 as a daily newspaper by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. As of 2011, the print circulation was 75,052.

<i>Library Journal</i> American trade publication

Library Journal is an American trade publication for librarians. It was founded in 1876 by Melvil Dewey. It reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries, and offers feature articles about aspects of professional practice. It also reviews library-related materials and equipment.

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Jennifer Donnelly American writer

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Padma Venkatraman, also known as T. V. Padma is an American author who was born in India.

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  1. "Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala". Goodreads. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  2. Jan Stuart. "Book review: Wave by Sonali Deriniyagala". Boston Globe . Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  3. "'Wave' by Sonali Deraniyagala". SFGate . Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  4. "Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala". The Spectator . Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  5. "Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala review". The Guardian . Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  6. "Sonali Deraniyagala's "Wave" makes NYTimes "Best Books of 2013 list". The Republic Square. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  7. "30 Books 2013: Tom Beer on Sonali Deraniyagala's 'Wave'". BookCritics.org. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Cheryl Strayed. "'Wave' by Sonali Deraniyagala". The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  9. Wave:Life and Memories after the Tsunami. Vintage Books.
  10. "'Wave', a family vacation turns into the worst kind of nightmare". Salon.
  11. 1 2 "Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala review". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  12. "Outliving Death - Wave". The Hindu . Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  13. "A Better Quality of Agony". The New Yorker . March 28, 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  14. Kerry Clare (September 11, 2013). "Some thoughts about Sonali Deraniyagala's Wave". Pickle Me This. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  15. "Wave". Barnes & Noble . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  16. Kaye, Marcia. "Book Review: Wave By Sonali Deraniyagala". Colombo Telegraph. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  17. "The 10 Best Books of 2013- NYTimes". The New York Times . December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  18. 1 2 3 "Wave (Vintage) [Paperback]". Amazon.com . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  19. Thompson, Neal (March 2, 2013). "A review of the heartbreaking Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala". WordPress . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  20. "Wave". Booklist . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  21. "15 best nonfiction books of 2013: 14. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala". The Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  22. Nielsen, Therese Purcell; Shea, Erin. "Best Books 2013: Memoir". Library Journal . Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  23. "Best Books of 2013 for Vicarious Experiences You'll Never Forget". Kirkus Reviews . Retrieved January 22, 2014.