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by Sonali Deraniyagala | Biographies & Memoirs
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 7/11/2015
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by hyphen8): travelling

This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, July 11, 2015

7 out of 10

I found this fair-condition softcover on the charity-sale shelves of a local Hannaford's, and nabbed it for another release copy. It's a first-person account of the deadly 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, by a woman who survived but lost her husband, two young sons, and her parents.

The situation is harrowing enough, and much of the book is a suppressed howl of anguish - sometimes in pain because she couldn't wail out loud, sometimes grieving by trying to harass the new tenants of her late parents' house into moving out. Her account of the tsunami itself, of her survival, and of the weeks, months, and years in which she hoped to die, then began to accept her own survival, is matter-of-fact and effective - even as I found myself hoping she would get psychiatric help. [In her acknowledgements at the end of the book, the first entry thanks her therapist, so it seems that she did - though she never talks about that in the book itself.]

I admit I was surprised at some of the turns her story took. For one, it seems that she simply left her English house as it was for several years after the tragedy, finally visiting it to find its contents as she and her family had left them when setting out to Sri Lanka for a holiday. This kind of ghost-house setting is very compelling to me, not least because my great-grandmother locked up my youngest great-uncle's room after his death in WWII and left it that way for decades. But I couldn't help wondering how the author managed this with a London house; I'd have thought that a house left empty for so long would be subject to vandalism, or that the expense would be too much.

The book's about a personal battle with grief and guilt, not about the overwhelming tragedy of the tsunami, and while I did sometimes wonder whether she ever considered her own losses compared to the hundreds of thousands of other lives lost, her choice to stick to her own feelings and reactions made her story more immediate. And this isn't a poignant story at all - her reactions ranged from shocked detachment to rage, from morbid curiosity about mass catastrophes in general to terror of the best memories of her children because they would only remind her that the boys were gone...

She does gain ground as the years pass - and while she doesn't describe what she was up to during most of those later years, it seems that she's come to grips with her ghosts, and no longer fears her memories.  

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, September 12, 2015

This book has not been rated.

Released 2 yrs ago (9/12/2015 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending this to BCer NancyNova in Pennsylvania as part of the wishlist tag game. Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 3 by wingNancyNovawing at Lansdale, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, September 25, 2015

This book has not been rated.

Book arrived. Thanks! 

Journal Entry 4 by wingNancyNovawing at Lansdale, Pennsylvania USA on Sunday, September 03, 2017

7 out of 10

rabck from GoryDetails; very little about the Tsunami, it's more reminiscent of Didion's Year of Magical Thinking. The authors husband, sons and parents all perished in the Tsunami wave, and she is the lone survivor. A lot of "magical thinking" as she comes to terms with losing her family in her home country on a vacation, and picking up the pieces of her life in England without them. This one will travel forward as a rabck.

Journal Entry 5 by wingNancyNovawing at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Friday, September 29, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 mos ago (9/29/2017 UTC) at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


A wishlist tag. Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, October 04, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Received today as a wishlist tag - thank you! 

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, May 04, 2018

This book has not been rated.

I was hoping to read this book, eventually, but I need to downsize drastically so it will be looking for a new reader. Happy travels, book!

(This book has a fun BCID number!) 

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Hawaii Book & Music Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, May 04, 2018

This book has not been rated.

Released 1 mo ago (5/5/2018 UTC) at Hawaii Book & Music Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Saturday, May 05, 2018: released somewhere on the Civic Center grounds during the HBMF. (Larger photo here.)

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