The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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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.
Translated by Randolf Hogan.
Velasco showed up of his own accord to ask how much we would pay him for his story, we took it for what it was: a rehash. The armed forces had sequestered him for several weeks in a naval hospital, and he had been allowed to talk only with reporters favorable to the regime and with one opposition journalist who had disguised himself as a doctor. His story had been told piecemeal many times, had been pawed over and perverted, and readers seemed fed up with a hero who had rented himself out to
second, the overweight prevented the ship from maneuvering to rescue the sailors; and third, the cargo was contraband—refrigerators, television sets, and washing machines. Clearly, the account, like the destroyer, was loaded with an ill-secured moral and political cargo that we hadn’t foreseen. The story, divided into installments, ran for fourteen consecutive days. At first the government applauded the literary consecration of its hero. Later, when the truth began to emerge, it would have been
myself every moment. I kept finding ways to survive, something to prop myself up with—insignificant though it might have been—some reason to sustain hope. But on the sixth day I no longer hoped for anything. I was a dead man in the raft. In the afternoon, thinking about how soon five o’clock would come, and with it the return of the sharks, I tried to lash myself to the side. On the beach in Cartagena two years earlier I had seen the remains of a man who had been mangled by a shark. I didn’t
felt the night we saw The Caine Mutiny wasn’t normal. I don’t mean to say that from that moment I began to anticipate the catastrophe, but I had never been so apprehensive before a voyage. When I was a child in Bogotá, looking at illustrations in books, it never occurred to me that one might encounter death at sea. On the contrary, I had a great deal of faith in the sea. And from the time I had enlisted in the Navy, two years before, I had never felt anxious during a voyage. But I’m not ashamed
the Caribbean 5: A Companion Aboard the Life Raft 6: A Rescue Ship and an Island of Cannibals 7: The Desperate Recourse of a Starving Man 8: Fighting Off the Sharks for a Fish 9: The Color of the Sea Begins to Change 10: Hope Abandoned … Until Death 11: On the Tenth Day, Another Hallucination: Land 12: Resurrection in a Strange Land 13: Six Hundred Men Take Me to San Juan 14: My Heroism Consisted of Not Letting Myself Die The Story of This Story February 28, 1955, brought news