Jan Brokken

Jungle Rudy

The exciting biography of a legendary adventurer deep in the savannas of Venezuela

Jungle Rudy is Jan Brokken’s tribute to the legendary adventurer and pioneer Rudy Truffino, who spent the greater part of his life mapping, discovering and opening up the jungle in the south-east of Venezuela, once rightly called ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book starts off with a brief sketch of Truffino’s life in the 1960s before he ended up in Venezuela, including a succesful attempt at escaping from a fire squad in the Domenican Republic. None of the events however could prepare him for the life that lay waiting.

The table mountains of the Auyán Tepui, enormous rock masses cut by deep crevices, and the Angel Falls, with a drop of more than 3,200 feet, almost a kilometre in length, exerted an irresistible fascination on the reckless traveller, who believed he could earn a fortune by discovering of gold and precious stones and organizing scientific expeditions in this still undiscovered part of the world. In the company of a bush pilot, Truffino flew over unknown waterfalls, lagoons, and beaches in the Venezuelan savannas south of the Orinoco.

What follows is a cross between a thriller, the story of a dangerous expedition and a biography. Poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions, mosquito plagues, drunkenness, aeroplane crashes, a stay among Indian tribes, and dangerous boat expeditions on swirling rivers, go into a world that writer Jan Brokken excels in recapturing. He follows literally in the footsteps of Truffino, reconstructing his life which staggered from one setback to the next.

Truffino’s great plans for the paradise he had opened up, resplendent with the most glorious flora and fauna, ultimately came to nothing. The hero himself died in 1994, sick and abandoned by his three daughters, without a soul to call his friend. With his fascinating biography, Brokken provides an indirect answer to a question he raised on the first few pages of his book: how to feel at ease about being nowhere at home.

Apart from being the biography of an adventurer, Jungle Rudy is also a book about real travel. Elegantly written, solidly constructed, full of exciting moments.

De Standaard

Brokken’s skill as a novelist and his experience as a travel writer make for a superb symbiosis.

de Volkskrant

A masterpiece of narrative non fiction.

The New York Times

With more than a whiff of Conrad and Greene, his story follows Rudy from idealistic adventurer to the pistol-toting misanthrope who was heard to scream “I am the dictator of Ucaima!” at visiting tax inspectors. The book is being filmed; with its unreachable hero and readymade soundtrack, it’s easy to see why.

The Guardian


Jan Brokken

De journalist Jan Brokken (1949), maakte zijn debuut in 1984 met de grotendeels autobiografische roman De provincie. Een verhaal over een jeugd op het platteland dat succesvol is verfilmd. Hij heeft pakkende reisboeken gepubliceerd over, onder andere, Afrika, Indonesië en Curaçao. Hij is de…

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Jungle Rudy (1999). Non-fictie, 269 pagina's.
Oplage: 3.000

With illustrations



Prinsengracht 911-915
NL - 1017 KD Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 524 98 00
Fax: +31 20 627 68 51

[email protected]

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