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Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor (Vintage International) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor Paperback – March 13, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

From the Inside Flap

Translated by Randolph Hogan. In 1955, Garcia Marquez was working for El Espectador, a newspaper in Bogota, when in February of that year eight crew members of the Caldas, a Colombian destroyer, were washed overboard and disappeared. Ten days later one of them turned up, barely alive, on a deserted beach in northern Colombia. This book, which originally appeared as a series of newspaper articles, is Garcia Marquez's account of that sailor's ordeal.

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (March 13, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067972205X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679722052
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez (1927 - 2014) was born in Colombia and was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. His many works include The Autumn of the Patriarch; No One Writes to the Colonel; Love in the Time of Cholera and Memories of My Melancholy Whores; and a memoir, Living to Tell the Tale. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on June 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has an interesting history (which is described in a short introduction by the author). In 1955, 8 crew members of a Colombian naval vessel were washed overboard. One of them, Luis Alejandro Velasco, survived 10 harrowing days on a drifting life raft before reaching land. The sailor collaborated with Garcia Marquez to produce a series of newspaper articles about the ordeal; those articles eventually became this book, which has been translated into a very readable English by Randolph Hogan.
The book is written as the sailor's own first-person narrative. This is truly an amazing tale of endurance under some horrible conditions. Velasco describes his experiences in graphic detail: the harsh weather elements, the disorienting hallucinations, the times of despair. Particularly interesting are his encounters with a variety of marine animals. But it's not all suffering; there are moments of poetic beauty.
I've never experienced anything as harrowing as this. But as a U.S. Navy veteran, I can say that Garcia Marquez skillfully captures the wonder that can only be encountered at sea, far from land. An excellent book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan S. Platt on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a marvel. The writing is so engaging in its simplicity and clarity. Vivid details abound in this account of Luis A. Velasco's ten days at sea in a little raft after he was swept overboard from his Colombian naval ship, en route from Mobile, Alabama to Cartagena, Colombia. He endured watching fellow crew members drown, followed by daily visits from sharks, intense sun that blistered his skin, near starvation and thirst, and fear. It's an amazing account of just what it is to survive, and not think or ponder about life, but just survive. And all with one oar bitten in half by a shark!
I've loved this author for a long time, and consider this early work of his a special treat. Stories of the sea can be so magnificent! I kept thinking of the Old Man and the Sea when reading this. Very highly recommended! You won't be able to put it down.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing little book. The factual, detached style adopted by Marquez makes the horrible suffering of the sailor seem even more real. Incredibly, the sailor manages to see the humor in his circumstance, and in the human condition, even after ten days at sea. Marquez communicates beautifully his sure grasp of human motivation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
One of the first works of Garcia Marquez. His account is so factual and fantastic, so involved and detached, hidden and obvious. Originally published in a serialized edition in his small newspaper, the attention it drew from the public for its content forced him to close down the newpaper due to goverment's pressure. It was made into a book only after he became a reknown writer. Absorbing and unveiling.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto Sepúlveda-Villarreal on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Relato de un Náufrago describe la experiencia de Luis Alejandro Velasco, un joven que en 1955 cayó al mar, junto con otros siete tripulantes de un destructor de la marina colombiana, y que tuvo la fortuna de ser el único sobreviviente, después de pasar diez días sin comer ni beber en una balsa a la deriva.

Aunque la historia fue escrita por Gabriel García Márquez en sus tiempos de periodista de El Espectador de Bogotá, con material producto de una larga entrevista al superviviente, los responsables de la publicación decidieron que el relato se narrara en primera persona y que lo firmara el náufrago. Lo publicaron a un mes de sucedidos los acontecimientos, en 14 episodios diarios consecutivos. La historia impactó, no por ser nueva en sí, puesto que la noticia ya había sido cubierta ampliamente por los medios y explotada por publicistas, sino porque por vez primera se hizo público un verdadero recuento de lo ocurrido. Quince años después, cuando Gabo ya había escrito Cien Años de Soledad, decide publicar la historia completa en formato de libro y firmarla como el autor.

La narración de esta increíble experiencia es estupendamente clara y vívida. Muestra con lujo de detalle, pero sin desperdiciar tinta, cómo sucedieron verdaderamente los acontecimientos que llevaron a la muerte a siete marinos colombianos, y a la fama, y luego al olvido, al único sobreviviente, sin que hubiera tormenta ni naufragio alguno. En este libro no hay nada de magia, puro realismo. Y se disfruta igual.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wy on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A quick read - This story is told in painstaking detail, and one has to admire the recall of the narrator as he recounts the circumstances of the shipwreck, the ensuing 10 days at sea and his ultimate rescue. I was able to feel the roller coaster of hope and despair experienced by narrator, the joys, surges of adrenaline, anger and frustration, determination and resignation.
This book had me on the edge of my seat, but mainly because of the preface by the author - The Story of the Story. The story certainly could have stood alone when first written in a series of newspaper articles, later in book form, because the story was still in the recent collective memory of Columbians. However, if I picked up a copy without the background provided by Garcia Marquez - as some of my book club friends did -I would have been lost and frustrated, left wanting more information. The Story of the Story preface gives a depth and completion to the story of the shipwrecked sailor, makes it all the more interesting. Make sure you buy a copy that includes the preface.
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