Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Voyages Extraordinaires #21: La Jangada

"P h y j s l y d d q f d z x g a s g z z q q e h x g k f n d r x u j u g I o c y t d x v k s b x h h u y p o h d v y r y m h u h p u y d k j o x p h e t o z l s l e t n p m v f f o v p d p a j x h y y n o j y g g a y m e q y n f u q l n m v l y f g s u z m q I z t l b q q y u g s q e u b v n r c r e d g r u z b l r m x y u h q h p z d r r g c r o h e p q x u f I v v r p l p h o n t h v d d q f h q s n t z h h h n f e p m q k y u u e x k t o g z g k y u u m f v I j d q d p z j q s y k r p l x h x q r y m v k l o h h h o t o z v d k s p p s u v j h d."

The man who held in his hand the document of which this strange assemblage of letters formed the concluding paragraph remained for some moments lost in thought.

A jangada is usually a fishing boat in Brazil, but Verne uses it to refer to a raft, large enough to carry some small cabins and a chapel, which is used by the protagonists to float down the Amazon River -- thus the title La Jangada, or the usual titles in English, The Giant Raft and (based on the French subtitle) Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon. Joam Garral is taking his family from just over the Peruvian border to Belém so that his daughter can marry her fiancee in the presence of his invalid mother. Joam, however, is wanted in Brazil for a serious crime he did not commit, and when he is arrested, the race is on to find proof of his innocence before his execution, in a mystery that depends on the physics of floating corpses, the solution to a cryptogram, and a few decent men trying to see that justice is done.

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