The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

What Meg Remy learned about grief and trauma by reading Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

The alt-pop U.S. Girls singer-songwriter talks about the book she's reading.
Toronto-based musician Meg Remy (right) loved reading Wave by Sri Lankan memoirist and economist Sonali Deraniyagala. (McClelland & Stewart, Jeff Bierk)

This segment originally aired on Nov. 14, 2020.

Meg Remy is a musician and producer and creator of the experimental pop project U.S. Girls. The artist's latest full-length album is called Heavy Light, a project that was on the 2020 Polaris Music Prize shortlist and received a 2021 Juno Award nomination for alternative album of the year. Remy is also the author of the essay collection Begin by Telling.

Remy is a reader and stopped by The Next Chapter to talk about the book she's reading. 

"The book on my nightstand right now is Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. The book is a first-person account of Sonali losing her husband, her two children and her parents in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. In the books, there's moments where she finds herself stabbing herself with a butter knife, hitting her head against the wall over and over again — she's losing it with this grief.

Reading the book felt like I was being given a tool kit for grief and trauma.

"I found that very, very intense to read. Reading the book felt like I was being given a tool kit for grief and trauma. And in case I ever find myself in a situation of complete, utter devastation or I need to help someone who's in that situation, the book taught me how fully unique everyone's response to grief and trauma is — and that every response is OK. 

"We are all traumatized because of the world we find ourselves in, so therefore we shouldn't judge each other at all, ever."

Sonali Deraniyagala reminisces on life-changing disaster in her memoir "Wave." 25:06

Meg Remy's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Watch the video for the song American Dollars by U.S. Girls 

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