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The General in His Labyrinth Paperback – 1 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141032529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032528
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A fascinating tour de force and a moving tribute to an extraordinary man (Margaret Atwood)

An imaginative writer of genius (Guardian)

About the Author

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927- ) was born in Aracataca, Colombia. His most recent book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, is his first new novel to be published in a decade and is available as a Penguin Paperback. He is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories, including Leaf Storm (1955); One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967); The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975); Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. C. Jones on 4 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Probably one of his least well-known works, and his least characteristic, owing to its essentially
biographical nature, but nevertheless an astounding novel, The General in His Labyrinth is Garcia Marquez's reconstructed account of the final days of the great General Simon Bolivar, liberator of South America and founder of Bolivia. The novel begins with Bolivar's final departure from the capital, disillusioned, brow-beaten, defeated. It isn't the first time he has left, only to return, and his enemies doubt it will be his last. The rumours about his ill-health are assumed to be lies planted by the General's agents. But the rumours are true; Simon Bolivar is dying. Garcia Marquez has drawn upon a massive bibliography of historical works and historians in order to craft a convincing and moving account of this great figure's last months, but whilst this means his work is factually near-accurate, this at no point reads like a history text book, and does not pretend to be one. Garcia Marquez's novels always depict personal tragedy and suffering, but never in isolation; they are always, however distantly, portrayed as part of the wider suffering of the whole of South America. If one man's sufferings can encapsulate the broken dreams of a liberated
continent, surely Simon Bolivar is that man, and Garcia Marquez rises to the task with talent and verve. Bolivar's liberation of South America from the Spanish with dreams of seeing the continent united for the common good are dashed by individuals' greed, and in his broken spirit we can envisage the grief of millions. As ever, Garcia Marquez's powerful and emotive writing makes the reader heave every sigh along with the protagonist, trapped in his own internal labyrinth of regret and bitterness. If one wishes to know what betrayal and disillusionment on a grand scale feels like, one need only read The General in his Labyrinth. A truly moving and magnificent work.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Aug. 1997
Format: Paperback
Having read The General in his Labyrinth for the

fourth time, I am still amazed by the story, and

way it is told.

This is the story of the last days of Simon Bolivar

the liberator of South America.He is dying of consumption,

old before his time. He leads a sad and noble group of loyal soldiers

and retainers through the wilds of Nueva Granada. There is no

hope - the General is not wanted any more, having watched the

liberated continent fall in upon itself and fragment. Having

taught the people separatism, the tired General is powerless

to stop the inevitable.

And so the journey proceeds, punctuated by heat, torrential rain,

fever, delirium, memories of great loves, and despair. The General's

state of mind is conveyed to the reader in the minutest detail. We are

shown the destruction and self-destruction of a once powerful

man,and the effect is one of witnessing death itself, with

its mystifying loss of personality.

Bolivar rants in fevers, paces the floor unable to sleep, and talks

of the agony of assassination attempts, treacherous infighting, a fickle

public, and memories of strong women.He goes from town to town

with his entourage,in turn feted or reviled according to local

faction.

He has the protective love of his closest generals, and the dignified

devotion of his servant Jose Palacios to comfort him on his seemingly

ignoble flight.But this journey is the only possible end for a man of

such brilliant but caustic powers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun. 1997
Format: Paperback
With the style and eloquent language that earned him the Nobel prize for literature, Marquez weaves a stunning story of glory and despair. Both real history and Marquez' imagination let us enter the world of Simon Bolivar, Liberator of South America, in all his humanity - good and evil.

Bolivar drove the Spanish out of South America, dealt with treachery from his own compatriots. Once hailed as a hero, he is now scorned and reviled, and fighting his own demons, he refuses to die quietly.

We are given a glimpse of the genius and foibles of the man behind the legend, as we accompany him on his last journey, accompanied only by the loyal remants of his once great army.

It is almost guaranteed that after reading this book you will want to travel to South America and to read more about the places and colorful characters who come to life in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Cassidy on 27 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Both Andy and Bruce share my feelings on this obviously well written but frustratingly dull book. I really (really really) had to force myself to finish this book.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this novel, which is quite different from others by the author, being based on the real life of Simon Bolivar, in particular his final months in 1830.
I didn't know much about Bolivar before reading this, and wasn't sure how much of the novel was fiction and how much was based on real events, but a quick check on Wikipedia suggests that Marquez has based his story on fact, and the only fictitious bits are those that fill in the more private moments that are less well documented. This attempt at accuracy is confirmed by the author's own note at the end of the book.
Important events in Bolivar's life are dealt with as reflections on the past and blend seamlessly into the novel, and I found this a much more enjoyable read than a typical dry biography.

Other reviewers appear to be less impressed by this book than the author's better-known novels, especially 'One Hundred Years of Solitude', but for me the lack of 'magical realism' is a good thing, as I prefer real life to fantasy, and there are still flashes of the author's trademark humour here.
I found the story both interesting and entertaining, and even quite moving, which is surely the mark of a good book.
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