The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Marquez

by himanjali29

Disclaimer: I do not really believe in Book Reviews because every book is a treasure in itself. This post is not meant to be treated as critical review and should be more of a conversation between me and you (Read: The reader reading this post, for which I thank you so much, btw).  Feedback is always welcomed

[The article contains SPOILERS.]

This is a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, though not really short. It is basically a narrative penned down by the great author. A sailor, who was shipwrecked, narrates the story of his life spent on a life raft, without any lifesaving amenities and how being stranded on a mere piece of wood makes him a hero in the end!

The occurrence of the ship falling apart was a result of his worst nightmares coming true, and this was because he was too influenced by a movie made at sea, how it gets violent and engulfs the lives of many.

Being a naval officer for a decent enough time, he has always been in love with the sea; being mobile for almost all of his life spent on the sea, he loved the adventures it brought along. Life is good until he watches this movie with his Spanish girlfriend Mary Address, which manages to scare him beyond wit and also his fellow mates. The movie that they watch is about a ship being wrecked recklessly and ruined in a way that could send shivers down anybody’s spine.

Haunted by this fear, he decides to quit the navy and never to return to the sea, to be with his family. He chooses to live a life of security and stability. The ship “Destroyer” fails exactly two hours before they reach Cartagena, his hometown. He is on duty, positioned on the deck, and all he has with him is his watch, keys and a hope of a safe and a better future.

Luck never fails to surprise one at the time of troubles. He, along with his few other fellow mates, are thrown into the sea by the voraciously tumbling ship as a result of furious winds and waves. He manages to get on a life raft and then tries helping his friends on the raft, but ill-fated, none of them manage to get on the raft and they were swallowed by the wind; the raft tracing its own path.

Later on, the story is about his journey to save his life and how he came back to Cartagena. He had to face varied problems like food, water, shelter and his safety. His reckless life on the raft was also an eye opener to many of his life’s queries. With only one hope – to be saved – he gathered his strength every morning and held the oars and rowed them.

It is a good book with an amazing real life story. This is where the crux of the story resides. This book isn’t about finding out whether he manages to be alive at the end, but it is about the life he had when he was on the raft.

The way he narrates it is one of the best I have come across.

I was totally glued throughout the entire time on my train journey, provided I had nothing to do and also it is just 106 pages. I was just so curious to know how he manages to get back.

Marquez tried his best possible to make the mystery last till the end. Anyways, he had nothing to do with the realism of the story, but it takes a lot of effort to store this into one.

Do read! It is short, but not sweet. It is engaging and interesting.
Check out his other books, he never fails to surprise one!

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