this was a really frustrating read. i could see what mcgregor was trying to do, but it just didn't work for me. there were beautiful moments but the i...morethis was a really frustrating read. i could see what mcgregor was trying to do, but it just didn't work for me. there were beautiful moments but the inconsistency of the prose and the excessive (and sometimes awful) use of simile and metaphor was distracting and, at times, painful to read. i knew where the story was headed before it got there, so i feel like this device - the slow reveal - wasn't successful. i also felt as though the voices for each of the characters - all residents on one section of a small street - were not distinct enough. the premise was interesting - one day in the life of a street, and its residents. but it is a big idea and i feel as though much was lost by using so may characters and residences.
"This is a novel where the contrived metaphor, the struggling simile, the romantic reference all come first...Yes, this is a novel about how our lives are "paler and poorer" if we don't see "remarkable" things for what they are. And yes, it's a good and true idea. But, though you couldn't say this is a poor novel (there's a writerly energy here that suggests McGregor will go far), it would be hard to imagine a paler one, its lifeblood sucked out by a Virginia Woolfish adherence to the fey, the pretend, the fortuitously elegant."
out of an unimaginable tragedy comes an unimaginable memoir of loss and grief. while reading this book i was constantly wondering how deraniyagala ma...moreout of an unimaginable tragedy comes an unimaginable memoir of loss and grief. while reading this book i was constantly wondering how deraniyagala managed to so eloquently capture her pain and heartache. i think this is quite a testament to the love she has for her husband and children, and her parents. as well as a reflection of her own incredible strength. this read is a total gut-punch, as deraniyagala navigates her life post-tsunami and shares it with us. we are given tender glimpses of her family life before the boxing day disaster. these vignettes help us know her family in a more nuanced way. i hope that writing this book gave deraniyagala some comfort and help. while i just cannot even imagine her experience (though i now have had such a vivid look), some of her observations and commentary were relatable to me - from times in my life when i have struggled with grief and loss.
"Grief is a frightening condition, and at its extreme is like the sun: impossible to look at directly. That Deraniyagala wrote down what happened is understandable. But why would some unconcerned individual, someone who has not been similarly shattered, wish to read this book? Yet read it we must, for it contains solemn and essential truths. I am reminded of what Anne Carson wrote in the introduction to Grief Lessons: Four Plays, her translation of four plays by Euripides: "Grief and rage—you need to contain that, to put a frame around it, where it can play itself out without you or your kin having to die. There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you—may cleanse you of darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn’t that why they are called actors? They act for you."