438 Days

  • by Jonathan Franklin
  • Narrated by George Newbern
  • 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

438 Days is the miraculous account of the man who survived alone and adrift at sea longer than anyone in recorded history - as told to journalist Jonathan Franklin in dozens of exclusive interviews.
On November 17, 2012, Salvador Alvarenga left the coast of Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. A vicious storm killed his engine, and the current dragged his boat out to sea. The storm picked up and blasted him west. When he washed ashore on January 29, 2014, he had arrived in the Marshall Islands, 9,000 miles away - equivalent to traveling from New York to Moscow round trip.
For 14 months, Alvarenga survived constant shark attacks. He learned to catch fish with his bare hands. He built a fish net from a pair of empty plastic bottles. Taking apart the outboard motor, he fashioned a huge fishhook. Using fish vertebrae as needles, he stitched together his own clothes.
He considered suicide on multiple occasions - including offering himself up to a pack of sharks. But Alvarenga never failed to invent an alternative reality. He imagined a method of survival that kept his body and mind intact long enough for the Pacific Ocean to toss him up on a remote, palm-studded island, where he was saved by a local couple living alone in their own Pacific Island paradise.
Based on dozens of hours of interviews with Alvarenga and interviews with his colleagues, search and rescue officials, the medical team that saved his life, and the remote islanders who nursed him back to health, this is an epic tale of survival, an all-true version of the fictional Life of Pi. 438 Days is a study of the resilience, will, ingenuity, and determination required for one man to survive 14 months lost at sea.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator George Newbern does an excellent job delivering the story of Alvarenga's struggle... Newbern's consistent pace and varied tone keep the compelling story going, communicating the harrowing aspects of the journey as well as Alvarenga's inspirational will to survive his extended ordeal at sea." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Story to wake you up. nex

I have low vision and usually save audible books for bedtime, relying on news during the day. Most books let me nod off after 60 minutes, but this one kept me awake much longer. The tale is simply told, with authenticity, right from the start. Rather than the familiar approach, that of a deliberate ocean voyage gone desperately awry, this one is the story of a fisherman in a small boat, unequipped for extended time at sea, not even having lifeboat equipment to help him. Right away I am drawn in by the thought of how is he going to do it? The narrator tells me simply what he does, without dreams or superfluous detail, although there is enough detail to have me picturing the action, and thoughts as if I am there too. Every word is believable.

The tale is well narrated and the author's conclusions after he recovers is modest and hands us a simple way to keep urselves on track, to never say die. I finished this book in one night and a full day. I never have devoted a full day to a listening event!
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- Patricia Grocock


A story that does not get enough attention is what '438 Days' is. A story of adversity and resilience that will make you feel good to be alive. There is a slight disconnect between the author and the subject and you feel plenty is lost in translation. But envisioning what happened in those 438 days is the real star of the story. "what would i do" and "would i be able to do that" will often pop into your head.George Newbern brilliant as always. Great read and well worth the credit.
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- Big jim Picotto "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio