“His name was Salvador and he arrived with bloody feet,” begins this epic tale of survival, which follows a fisherman named Salvador Alvarenga who, on November 17, 2012, left his adopted home of Costa Azul, Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. This short expedition would turn into fourteen months lost at sea after a vicious storm. Alvarenga survived constant shark attacks, learned to catch fish with his bare hands, faced the loss of his shipmate, struggled with suicidal thoughts, and dreamt of returning home to El Salvador establish a relationship with his long-estranged daughter, Fatima.
“I was amazed by Alvarenga’s inventiveness,” shares Franklin, who recorded approximately thirty-five hours of exclusive interviews with Alvarenga. “He entertained himself making shoes from the skin of dead sharks. He used fish vertebrae to sew clothes. When the sun burned his head, he used a turtle shell as a hat. The constant innovation and ability to find meaning in a thriving yet remote ocean environment is a story that simply engrossed me.”In addition to approximately 40 hours of interviews with Alvarenga, Franklin also spoke with shark fisherman along the Mexican coast, oceanographers and climate scientists, psychologists who study extreme survival, and Navy SEAL trainers. Regularly reporting for The Guardian, GQ, and Esquire, Franklin’s previous book, 33 Men, told the story of 33 Chilean miners trapped nearly a kilometer underground for 10 weeks -- and was adapted as a feature film, starring Antonio Banderas and hitting theatres across North America this month.
“When I heard about a guy who said he floated for 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in an open boat, my reaction was, ‘Yeah, right. But if he did?’ The curiosity was too much,” adds Franklin.A stunningly detailed account of the man who miraculously survived alone and adrift at sea longer than anyone in recorded history, 438 Days reveals:
- How Alvarenga survived for fourteen months at sea. What he ate, drank and used to protect himself from the elements
- Behind the scenes stories which readers will learn for the first time
- Alvarenga’s near-suicide and how he combated the desire to stop suffering
- The death of his only shipmate and the struggles Alvarenga faced once alone
- Life after the sea: The difficulties Alvarenga faced returning home, and his opportunity to reconnect with Fatima
- And much more!
Based in Manhattan and Santiago, Chile, Jonathan Franklin regularly reports for The Guardian, GQ, and Esquire, focusing on Latin America. He also works with the team at Retro Report producing documentaries broadcast by The New York Times.
Franklin is the author of 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea, based on exclusive interviews with Salvador Alvarenga, a man who survived 438 days adrift at sea.
His previous book, 33 Men, offering a behind-the-scenes account of the Chilean miners trapped nearly a kilometer underground, became a national bestseller in the U.S. and UK and was translated into nineteen languages.
Learn more at www.JonathanFranklin.com
at @FranklinBlog. 438 Days can be purchased from Simon & Schuster, Amazon
, Barnes and Noble stores and wherever books are sold.