I regret to report that the New Yorker double-issue of this week, Feb. 19-26, 2007 contains a dynamite main course in Mark Singer’s long piece, The Castaways. Why the regret for a terrific piece? Well, it ain’t online, so I can’t extract or link. You, dear reader, will be forced to the extremis of commerce to chime with or reject my observations on the composition.

The issue is the annual Eustace Tilley cover number, for those taking note. Act now, supplies are limited.

In the article, Singer recounts the tale, verging on a year gone, of the Mexican Pacific Coast fishermen found over nine months adrift and five thousand miles west of their port, San Blas, Mexico. I recall reading the initial coverage of the rescued men and the nearly-immediate skepticism of the men’s tale in the press. Reading a long-form sympathetic retelling of the men’s months adrift is nothing sort of remarkable even if it does not provide a prescriptive verdict on the truth or fiction of aspects of the tale. The men appear to be the exception to those we build mariners’ memorials to, and the detailed recounting of their time adrift may serve as proxy for the countless others never found out upon the trackless main.