Thursday, January 2, 2014
By: Sonali Deraniyagala
Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.
--Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. I wasn't sure whether I'd review it. I didn't trust myself to "judge" it.
I was right to read it.
It deals with a tragedy so unthinkable that you want to duck, except that the author couldn't, and has written a book that allows you to glimpse what she's survived without your feeling the need to flee.
That's as much as most of us think we can take. Maybe, the author implicitly tells us, we're made of sterner stuff.
Not that there's anything that can "fix" a disaster of the magnitude she encountered. She went mad, went suicidal, became a thing barely human, after her entire family was obliterated by a tsunami. She doesn't pretend to be whole again. She's managed to write, and to sustain an a career as an economist.
But she's dead.
Or is she?
We're not asked to judge. But we are drawn, ineluctably as the tide, to observe. To listen. To go on.