10 September 2020, The Tablet

Go with the flow: Colombia's Magdalena river


Go with the flow: Colombia's Magdalena river

The Magdalena River
Photo: Flickr, Serge

 

Magdalena: River of Dreams
WADE DAVIS
(BODLEY HEAD, 432 PP, £25)
Tablet bookshop price £22.50 • tel 020 7799 4064

The Magdalena is the mirror image of the Mississippi, not just in its land-carving might, not just because it is the only other great river to flow into the Caribbean, but in its defining cultural impact. Named after the woman who wept for Christ, the Magdalena is unique as the only tropical river that flows south to north for its entire length, and Colombia would not exist without it. Though navigation southwards was fraught and slow until the aeroplane came along, the river and its vast basin opens up a territory that contains just about every land form known on earth, the richest flora, fauna and avifauna of any single country, the most complex biodiversity and natural resources, and a palimpsest of ancient civilisations that are known only from enormous man-made mounds and outsize statuary.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading


Register for free to read this article in full


Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £21.50 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login