Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena (Hardcover)
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An exhilarating travelogue for a new generation by a protege of John McPhee ("A born journalist") and Pico Iyer ("A writer, a traveler—a virtuoso—of rare talent and energy") about a journey along Colombia’s Magdalena River, exploring life by the banks of a majestic river now at risk, and how a country recovers from conflict.
An American writer of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi Jewish descent, Jordan Salama tells the story of the Rio Magdalena, nearly one thousand miles long, the heart of Colombia. This is Gabriel García Márquez’s territory—rumor has it Macondo was partly inspired by the port town of Mompox—as much as that of the Middle Eastern immigrants who run fabric stores by its banks.
Following the river from its source high in the Andes to its mouth on the Caribbean coast, journeying by boat, bus, and improvised motobalinera, Salama writes against stereotype and toward the rich lives of those he meets. Among them are a canoe builder, biologists who study invasive hippopotamuses, a Queens transplant managing a failing hotel, a jeweler practicing the art of silver filigree, and a traveling librarian whose donkeys, Alfa and Beto, haul books to rural children.
Joy, mourning, and humor come together in this astonishing debut, travel writing about a country too often seen as only a site of war, and a tale of lively adventure following a legendary river.
About the Author
Jordan Salama is a writer, journalist, and producer. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, and other outlets. He is the co-founder of The Lulus TV, a children's media brand on YouTube that has more than 1 million total subscribers and half a billion total views from around the world. A 2019 graduate of Princeton University, he is of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi-Jewish descent and is fluent in English and Spanish. He lives near New York City.
“I read this brisk and beautifully wrought travelogue, a deeply personal meditation on the Magdalena River and its cultural, political, and geographical sphere, with a tingle of excitement, a sense of waking to a new world. Jordan Salama is a profoundly gifted writer, and this book is a real achievement. I will read everything of his in the coming years.” —Jay Parini, author of Borges and Me