"The dozen shacks that made up the village of San Estaban huddled, dwarfed and miserable below the craggy
ramparts that walled them away from the world … Only in one direction was escape from the village possible …
through the narrow mouth of the inlet, eight miles from the village."
Like “Beyond the Great Snow Mountains,” “By the Waters of San Tadeo,” is another story with a female
protagonist, Julie Marrat …
"Like many young girls, Julie had thought that marriage would change her life, and indeed it had. But she
discovered that the qualities in a man that had appealed to her when she was being courted were not the qualities
that made a good partner for life.
Her husband had been a dashing young bohemian who could quote enough Spencer, Marx, or Freud to prove and point.
Unfortunately, for all this obsession with the working man, he could not seem to hold a job. What she had
mistaken for intensity turned out to be self-obsession, and the wild ways that she once though were delightfully
liberated proved to be simple self indulgence.
After six months he had disappeared to prowl the bars and jazz clubs of San Francisco by himself ..."
Julie takes off with her father, another hard luck case, on a trip down the coast of Chile, in his old fishing
boat. When one disaster follows another she is forced to fend for herself in one of the most lonely and
uninhabited areas of the Earth.
Click for larger image.
In a desperate bid for survival she must escape the trading post at San Estaban and
attempt to find her father’s boat where it has been hidden in the San Tadeo river. In doing so discovers aspects
of her personality she never thought could exist …
"She laughed at the picture of herself, stark naked and freezing in a primitive forest, clutching a rifle and
daring a man like Pete Kubelik to come and get her. What made it funny was the thought of her husband, champion of
the working class, seeing her now. That often drunk, ineffective coffeehouse Bolshevik could never even imagine
this, which made her cough out a hard, mean laugh from lips that were set in a snarl.
“Come on, damn you.”
From somewhere inside her there came a deep swell of emotion. Some of it was the loss of her father. Some of
it was fear of this terrible man. Some of it was anger; finally not with herself, but with her no-good husband.
But most of it was an emotion that had no name, something ancient and primal, the feeling that a tiny animal
might have when, after being pursued to the end of it’s endurance, it turns and bares it’s teeth. Not only does it
have to fight, but something inside it has changed … now it wants to fight."