Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama
Travel writing 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") recounts a journey along the Magdalena River in Colombia, exploring not only life by the banks of a river at risk, but how a country moves on after conflict.
On sale November 16, 2021 • ISBN: 9781646220441
Joy and mourning come together in this surprising debut, a travelogue of a country too often seen one-dimensionally, as Jordan Salama, an new voice in travel writing and an American of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi-Jewish descent tells the story of Colombia's Magdalena River.
The Magdalena River is legendary. Nearly one thousand miles long, it runs through the heart of Colombia: its territory belongs to Gabriel Garcia Marquez as much as of the Middle Eastern immigrants who live by its banks. Following the river from its source high in the Andes to its mouth on the Caribbean coast, Salama writes against stereotype and toward the rich lives of those who live along its path, including a builder of wooden canoes, biologists who study wild hippopotamuses, a jeweler practicing the art of silver filigree, and a traveling librarian whose donkeys, Alpha and Beto, haul books to rural children.
Salama's eye catches what's surprising and hilarious, as well as what's grim and undeniable —from his experience riding a motobalinera, a funny improvised vehicle which runs on train tracks (if a train approaches, well, the passengers have to hurriedly get off and the vehicle has to be lifted off the tracks), to the heartbreak of a village where the bodies of unknown victims of war are buried, and those bodies are now taken to be saints, bringing blessings and miracles.
Every Day the River Changes is travel writing for a new generation of socially aware and sophisticated readers that rejects stereotypes about a much maligned place, and encourages us to look at what's truthful and surprising and cosmopolitan there, for instance communities of Middle Eastern immigrants living in Colombia, from a writer whose own ancestors moved from the Middle East to South America.
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.