“Squid marinated in lemongrass and lime and chili flakes. Slices of salty haloumi cheese and lamb chops and sausages from Nicos, our local Greek Cypriot butcher…. We’d marinate a leg of lamb for two days in a mix of yogurt, almonds, pistachios, lots of spices, mint, and green chilies…. We’d buy greengages in August. Often they were perfect, not too yielding, but not unripe.”
The book in which the passage above appears contains other passages that speak of times in the garden, trips taken with family, children learning from their parents and vice versa, and moments of laughter and joy. In most books, these evocations of summertime ease and sweet familial conviviality would be a pleasure.
In Sonali Deraniyagala’s memoir, “Wave,” they are among the most difficult things I’ve ever read. The reason: “Wave” is about Deraniyagala’s husband, her parents, and her two sons, aged seven and five, all of whom died in a single morning in December, 2004, when the tsunami hit the resort where they were holidaying in Sri Lanka. Deraniyagala herself was found spinning around in circles and almost deranged in a swirl of mud after the water receded. “Wave” is her account of that day, and of the years that followed. (via The New Yorker)