OUT OF THE BLUE By Kim­ina Lyall ABC Books $29.95

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra Books -

OS­TEN­SI­BLY a mem­oir of jour­nal­ist Kim­ina Lyall’s dev­as­tat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the Box­ing Day tsunami on a beach just north of Phuket, it is more about her jour­ney to­wards self-knowl­edge than the dis­as­ter it­self.

Lyall scored the cov­eted job of South East Asian correspondent for TheAus­tralian­based in Bangkok and she plunged into it with gusto. Un­for­tu­nately, al­most her first ex­pe­ri­ence in her ex­otic new home was an at­tempted rape on a de­serted beach, an event that threw her com­pletely off bal­ance.

To her dis­may she found that she was not strong and com­pe­tent in a cri­sis, and this ex­pe­ri­ence over­shad­owed her im­pres­sions of her new coun­try.She didn’t like Thai­land, didn’t en­joy it but she was de­ter­mined to stay un­til she did.

She and her part­ner de­cided to build a beach house on a se­cluded is­land, Golden Bud­dha Beach, north of Phuket, a place they could es­cape to for week­ends and, she hoped, a place where she could learn to love Thai­land.But then came Box­ing Day 2004 and the tsunami en­gulfed Golden Bud­dha Beach and those who lived there.

Lyall sur­vived the tsunami, and so did her part­ner, but in the en­su­ing frenzy of jour­nal­is­tic ac­tiv­ity her men­tal bal­ance was lost.She was suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic shock.

It’s good read and it re­ally brings home the hor­ror of the tsunami and the af­ter­shocks still be­ing felt by sur­vivors and their fam­i­lies. In a word: In­trigu­ing

— MARY VER­NON

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