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The General in His Labyrinth (Marquez 2014) [Paperback]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Mar 2014 Marquez 2014

The General in his Labyrinth is the compelling tale of Simón Bolívar, a hero who has been forgotten and whose power is fading, retracing his steps down the Magdalena River by the Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.

'It was the fourth time he had travelled along the Magdalena, and he could not escape the impression that he was retracing the steps of his life'

At the age of forty-six General Simón Bolívar, who drove the Spanish from his lands and became the Liberator of South America, takes himself into exile. He makes a final journey down the Magdalene River, revisiting the cities along its shores, reliving the triumphs, passions and betrayals of his youth. Consumed by the memories of what he has done and what he failed to do, Bolívar hopes to see a way out of the labyrinth in which he has lived all his life. . ..

'An exquisite writer, wise, compassionate and extremely funny' Sunday Telegraph

'An imaginative writer of genius' Guardian

'The most important writer of fiction in any language' Bill Clinton

As one of the pioneers of magic realism and perhaps the most prominent voice of Latin American literature, Gabriel García Márquez has received international recognition for his novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. Those published in translation by Penguin include Autumn of the Patriarch, Bon Voyage Mr. President, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Collected Stories, In the Evil Hour, Innocent Eréndira and Other Stories, Leaf Storm, Living to Tell the Tale, Love in the Time of Cholera, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, News of a Kidnapping, No-one Writes to the Colonel, Of Love and Other Demons, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and Strange Pilgrims.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0241968720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241968727
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1927. He studied at the National University of Colombia at Bogota and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas and New York. He is the author of several novels and collections of stories, including Eyes of a Blue Dog (1947), Leaf Storm (1955), No One Writes to the Colonel (1958),In Evil Hour (1962), Big Mama's Funeral (1962), One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Innocent Erendira and Other Stories (1972), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), The General in His Labyrinth (1989), Strange Pilgrims(1992), Of Love and Other Demons (1994) and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2005). Many of his books are published by Penguin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014.

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JOSÉ PALACIOS, his oldest servant, found him floating naked with his eyes open in the purifying waters of his bath and thought he had drowned. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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
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


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
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars General Difficulty With Indigestion 22 Aug 2000
I think it's clear that the text is written by an intellectual with a sharp mind and pen, and has been beautifully translated. But I'm interested to know whether other readers have experienced my troubles in actually enjoying the tale. There is no obvious movement away from the central character, no development of his relationships with others, each chapter relates ill-humour, sickness and bitterness. But Marquez's sentences are sharp and dramatic and relate the Hispanic temperament well. I've never before come across what is clearly a good book, but just so unenjoyable.
The book charts the final journey of the doomed South American Unionist Simon Bolivar, ravaged by defeat and illness. He is referred to throughout as "The General" and it appears to me that the labyrinth is most likely the state of the general's decaying mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Phil O'Sofa
5.0 out of 5 stars Not always immediately accessible but very rewarding
The magic of Marquez never disappoints me, at the end I remained spellbound. It is a fascinating historical perspective on the enigmatic life of Bolivar. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andrew
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of context required for the non South American
I found the books concept very fascinating. The last few weeks of a mighty leader who liberated South America from the Spanish colonists but than list it all to his own trusted... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Power and politics
Fictionalised account of the months following Simon Bolivar's renunciation of the Presidency of Colombia. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2012 by JoTownhead
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Tiresome
It's very rare that i have to speed-read to the end of anything, let alone a piece of work by the great 'Gabo'. Read more
Published on 31 July 2010 by Jim Bowen's Marriage Counsellor
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull
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.
Published on 27 April 2008 by M. Cassidy
5.0 out of 5 stars Death as an unavoidable human hazard
G.G. Márquez wrote a forceful, naturalistic evocation of the last years of South-America's most ambitious and most important statesman, Simón Bolivár. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2007 by Luc REYNAERT
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to A Very High Standard Indeed
Marquez is one of the great writers of our time and I regard One Hundred Years of Solitude an unassailable masterpiece. Read more
Published on 30 Nov 2002 by Bruce Kendall
3.0 out of 5 stars Attempts Majesty but Lacks the Magic
Many of the reviewers here are enchanted by this book; I must offer a hesitant appreciation. It seems to lack the magic and grace of some of his other works; perhaps the ultimate... Read more
Published on 17 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last 223 Days in the Life of Bolivar, The Liberator
From his leaving Bogota in a misty dawn, the mules, the solitude, the little convoy, with Palacios, his black butler, and his faithful Irish aids de camp. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 1998
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