This is an unflinching record of devastating loss and the wealth of human solace that follows in its wake. 'The night before the wave, I remember that Helene and I talked about separating. It wouldn't be complicated; we didn't live together, hadn't had a child, and were even able to see ourselves remaining friends, and yet, it was sad. It was Christmas 2004.' In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grandfather helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a young woman succumbs to illness, leaving her husband and small children bereft. Present at both events, Emmanuel Carrere sets out to tell the story of two families - shattered and ultimately restored. What he accomplishes is nothing short of a literary miracle: a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage and decency in the face of adversity, an intimate and reverent look at the extraordinary beauty and nobility of ordinary lives.