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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor Who Drifted on a Life Raft for Ten Days


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About the Author

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time Cholera, The Autumn Of The Patriarch, The General In His Labyrinth, and News Of A Kidnapping. He died in 2014.


On February 26, 1955, Luis Alejandro Velasco was washed off the deck of the Colombian destroyer Caldas along with seven of his crewmates. His companions drowned, but Velasco was left to drift ``in the midst of the sea's dark murmur'' for ten days and nights before he could reach shore. Afterwards, he was surprised to find himself a hero. This small literary jewel compares favorably with the very best of modern tales of the sea, e.g., Richard Hughes's In Hazard and Peter Matthiessen's Far Tortuga. In Garcia Marquez's later works, his raw ability as a storyteller is often obscured by his extraordinary strength as a fabulist, his mastery of irony, and the translucent quality of his descriptions. In this barebones narrative, his stature as a storyteller is immediately apparent. An exceptional book. David Keymer, Dean of Students, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Utica

"A luminous narrative that rivals the most remarkable stories of man's struggles against the sea."--Philadelphia Inquirer

In 1955, eight crewmen were cast overboard from the Colombian destroyer Caldas, en route to its home port of Cartagena from Mobile, Ala. The sole survivor, Luis Alejandro Velasco, told his adventures to Garcia Marquez, then working as a reporter for the Bogota daily El Spectator, where Velasco's story of a seeming eternity of thirst, hunger and hallucinations first appeared. The Nobel Laureate's lean prose perfectly captures the straightforwardness of the sailor's voice as he recounts his 10-day drift at sea in a cork raft: the fading senses of direction, motion, time; his struggle against sharks, which appeared punctually each evening at 5:00; starvation that drove him to tryin vainto eat the soles of his shoes. ``My heroism consisted of not letting myself die,'' states Velasco. This slim volume is a superb example of journalism by a professional of the art. (April 25)

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