Nilanjana Roy’s review of Wave – the story of death, survival and grief – propels me to the bookstore. Nobody needs to know the depth of emotional horror Sonali Deraniyagala has experienced, yet through her journey we can understand a little more of the human condition. The power of books.
Midway through the first written story known to the world, The Epic of Gilgamesh, there occurs a passage of terrible grief. Gilgamesh, the hero, loses his closest friend and fellow warrior, Enkidu.
There is nothing they can do, despite the many battles they have fought, to stave off death. Enkidu, forewarned, rushes into anger, and from there into lamentation. He reproaches his friend for not being able to save him—“you did not rescue me, you were afraid and did not”; from his deathbed, he calls to the friend who has abandoned him simply by not being able to follow him into the land of death.
Gilgamesh’s grief and mourning is indeed epic; the first recorded story in human history dwells on his growing realisation of the gap death leaves in his life. He roams the wilderness, and finally, he goes to the Netherworld, to ask about Death and Life. This…
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