The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor


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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel García Márquez

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394548104
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/12/1986
Series: International Series
Pages: 106

About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez 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.


Mexico City, Mexico

Date of Birth:

March 6, 1928

Place of Birth:

Aracataca, Colombia


Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1947-48, and Universidad de Cartagena, 1948-49

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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Story Of a Shipwrecked Sailor" by Gabriel Garcia MArquez, is one that compells both mental and emotonial intrest in the life of one man lost at sea for 10 days. As someone who has read "Life of Pi", I found it incredibly interesting to read this book and be able to make as many connections and refences as I could. Both books portray the physical and physcological stresses and strugges brought on by the will to survive in a situation in which you are completely unsafe and in the unknown. Marquez must have faced many challenges writing this novel seeing that it is infact a true story, Luis was infact a man who got washed overboard his ship and spent 10 days out on the open sea all alone. Marquez spent unbelievable time and energy making his the most accurate and entertaining story possible.  But as to every great novel and author, there are strong points and weak points. Marquez manages to accurately and precicsely take us through every day that Luis is on the raft alone, he is able to give us amazing imagary and use syntax and diction in different styles to keep the reader interested, as well as informed to the best of his ability. But he also so closely follows the plot of "Life of Pi" its almost as if you've already read them both even if you've just read one. Of course Maquez leaves out the Bengal Tiger, but he still manages to connect them so closely, it can be difficult to stay interested. While this book is short its still packed with adventure and mental, physical d emotional up's and down's that will keep you reading. 
Kai-Dawson More than 1 year ago
The novel I read titled “The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a fascinating story about a young man named Luis Velasco. Luis Velasco is a sailor for the Colombian Navy and is trapped and lost at sea for ten days with no form of obtaining food or water, after his ship called the Caldas wrecks, he roughs the harsh climates of the ever so hot sun, and the not so forgiving brutality of the sea. Luis Velasco was stationed with the Colombian navy, in Mobile, Alabama for several months. Luis and his friends enjoyed the time they spent in Mobile, and throughout his time, got in countless bar fights, partied with his friend, danced with women, and was lucky enough to be very close with a young woman named Mary Address. Luis spent several nights with Mary before his departure on the destroy ship, Caldas. As the Caldas began its voyage onto the Caribbean, the conditions of the sea grew worse. The currents of the water eventually put the Caldas under water, and soon enough, Luis was over board, he quickly found a way to a nearby raft, and his ten days of being stranded on the sea, began. Throughout his venture, he struggled against, the rough sea; howling winds, hot sun, sea creatures, loneliness, depression, desperation and dehydration along with sleep deprivation and near starvation. Luis Velasco suffered many challenges, he even saw two shipmates perish to the monstrosity of the strong ocean currents, right before his own eyes. Luis believes he should’ve died on that raft, and that there is no way he should’ve possibly survived, he missed his family, and mourned his friends and crew mates who unfortunately didn’t survive the ship wreck as he had. Luis was starting to lose hope, and he was losing it fast, planes flew overhead, but none spotted him, he was hallucinating islands and beach shores, and could feel his last days approaching. During his final moments, he spotted trees ahead of him, certain it was juts a mirage he felt no relief, but finally floated ashore to safety. Luis was able to return home to his family. Now that I've given a detailed plot summary, I feel I should share my opinion, which is, that this book is a marvelous telling of survival and triumph over a great challenge, but I wish it wasn't so short, certain parts lacked key emphasis I felt were necessary, and after reading a book like Life of Pi, I could really use some more detail to a "lost at sea" type of story, but otherwise, very well put together, and a good piece of writing.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, published by First Vintage International in 1986, is a very interesting and unique book. The book was originally published in Spanish, then translated to English by Randolph Hogan. The book is centered around one character, a sailor from Columbia, who finds himself alone on a lifeboat for the majority of the story. I found this book to be genuinely original and well written. This book could have become extremely boring because of the monotony of being lost at sea, but the author keeps it interesting enough to make you want to find out what happens to the sailor. Even though this book didn't have much action, it was still intriguing because it was based on true circumstances. The story starts off on February 22, 1955, in Mobile, Alabama, with the main character, Luis Alejandro Velasco, talking about how his next voyage home to Cartagena, Columbia would be his last. He was planning to quit the Navy when he got home. He left on his voyage with seven other crew members on the destroyer, Caldas. A couple of days into the voyage, the destroyer starts to tilt dangerously to the starboard side of the ship. Luis, along with a couple of his shipmates, are called up onto the deck to try to keep the ship balanced, but they all go overboard when strong waves hit the destroyer. Luis is the only one to reach the lifeboat through the harsh water and waves. For the next ten days, Luis is stranded on the lifeboat, with no food and water, and no sense of direction. The story describes very well how horrible it is to be isolated on a lifeboat that seems to be going nowhere. Throughout the story, you learn a lot about sailors, and what they believe in, for example, on page 51, "To a sailor, sea gulls are like sighting land. It isn't proper for a sailor to kill a sea gull." I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read a journalistic reconstruction of a person stranded out at sea. I would also recommend this book to people who like to read about real life harrowing situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually read this story in Spanish- 'Relato de un Naufrago'. By reading the review, i must say that either the review is wrong in one thing or the book was translated differently. On the Spanish version it said the accident occured on the 28th of feb, but on the review says it was on the 26th. Anyways, i find this story very interesting and there's a valuable lesson to learn from. I won't say it because it might be different for anyone, if you wanna find out read the book. It's good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was a remarkable story about Luis Alejandro Velasco. He was nearly kissed with death but managed to overcome his troubles and illusions after being at sea for 11 days with no food or water. He was claimed a hero for those 11 days but in his own heart, he was just the same person is what the book reads. This is just a touching story that reaches out and grabs your heart.