The General in His Labyrinth (Penguin fiction) Paperback – 29 Jun 1995
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"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.
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I received this book as a gift and it blew me away! Beautifully written, intellectual and truly extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and just could not put it down. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Abigail Ryding
A masterpiece. An evocation of South America in the doomed journey of a dying man.Published 17 months ago by Paul Pickering
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 morePublished on 13 Jun. 2014 by Phil O'Sofa
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 morePublished on 11 Jun. 2014 by Andrew
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 morePublished on 22 July 2013 by tariqmuda
Fictionalised account of the months following Simon Bolivar's renunciation of the Presidency of Colombia. Read morePublished on 18 Sept. 2012 by JoTownhead
This is one of Marquez's finest works, recounting in a simple narrative the story of the last voyage of Simon Bolivar and his reflections on his life and achievments. Read morePublished on 9 Dec. 2011 by Lampedusa
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 morePublished on 31 July 2010 by Jim Bowen's Marriage Counsellor
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 WZ