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The General in His Labyrinth (Penguin fiction) Paperback – 29 Jun 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, 29 Jun 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (29 Jun. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140245294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140245295
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 900,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A fascinating tour de force and a moving tribute to an extraordinary man." -Margaret Atwood, "New York Times Book Review" "A distinguished book...Garcia Marquez splendidly presents his image of Latin America and of a great man redux." -"Los Angeles Times Book Review""A stunning portrait, convincing and poignant." -"San Francisco Chronicle""Passage after passage shines with the brilliance of Garcia Marquez...He has invented some of the magic characters of our age. His General, however, is not only magic, but real." -"The Wall Street Journal" "As usual, Garcia Marquez's craftsmanship is nothing less than superb. His General's story is tragic; his telling of it is luminous." -"Dallas Morning News" Translated and with a new Introduction by Edith Grossman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

General Simon Bolivar, 'the Liberator' of five South American countries, takes a last melancholy journey down the Magdalena River, revisiting cities along its shores, and reliving the triumphs, passions and betrayals of his life. Infinitely charming, prodigiously successful in love, war and politics, he still dances with such enthusiasm and skill that those watching cannot believe he is ill. Aflame with memories of the power that he commanded and the dream of continental unity that eluded him, he is a moving exemplar of how much can be won - and lost - in a life. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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


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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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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Format: Paperback
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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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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