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The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel…

The General in His Labyrinth (1989)

by Gabriel García Márquez (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Picking up this book I expected two things: #1 - to enjoy Marquez' lovely, lyrical writing and, #2 - to learn something about Simón Bolívar.
Marquez is undeniably a master of language, unfortunately, the story here, such as it is, did not hold my attention or interest.
We meet Bolívar at the end of his life. Having finally abdicated power, he plans a trip to the coast. Ill and dying, even when he travels, he is caught in a kind of stasis. He reminisces, hazily, but not about the significant events of his life - more about his womanizing.
As I see it, the book is intended as a complex, ambiguous portrait of a broken man, who was both admirable and reprehensible in his prime. It intends both a commentary on the human condition, the fickle nature of adulation, and the corruption and troubles of South American politics.
There are moments of brilliance here, but overall I did not feel that the work succeeded. At too many points in the book I wanted more - a depth that I wasn't seeing, more details, less haziness. I didn't feel how or why the character portrayed by Marquez could had ever had the qualities of a leader or an idol. Since the reader doesn't see him at his height; I feel that we cannot appreciate his fall. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This books is about Simon Bolivar in the last period of his life when he attempts to leave South America and sails down the Rio de Magdelena. Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote this because much had already been written about Bolivar and his accomplishments, but not so much about this time. It left him room to make an historical fiction.

I quit reading about half way through. I found the tone and rhythm to be monotonous and dull. This may be due to the translation, or perhaps it was the author reaching for the despair of the great man. I'm not sure, but it wasn't something I desired to continue to read. There are interesting bits about the people and the places and even the man, that's why I continued reading to the half-way mark. Others may find a great deal of enjoyment in this. ( )
  MrsLee | Aug 11, 2015 |
A book about a general and his entourage.

If you want to learn about history, you can open up a history book and learn like most students in school. But sometimes, reading about history might be a little easier when given a narrative to work with. And that is exactly what [a:Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez|13450|Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1408500613p2/13450.jpg] does. Written in the fantastic prose that he is known for, he allows the reader to engage on a voyage with one Mr. Simon Bolivar in his last days traveling the continent. Nowhere else in any history book will the last days of a great leader be given as much focus and attention to detail as what Marquez does. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
მარტოობის 100 წელიწადის გადამღერება. გენერლებს ხო ვერ გაცდა მარ​ ( )
  buqu | Feb 26, 2015 |
Garcia Marquez’s depiction of the last few months in the life of Simón Bolívar, liberator of South America, is an absorbing and interesting read. There’s no magic realism in this one, but there are many ironies and absurdities, possible ghosts and portents, and occasional delusions. The overwhelming image of the book is one of ruin and decay – the General’s failing health is described at length. In addition, as they travel from Santa Fe de Bogota to Cartagena via the Magdalena River, the General recalls earlier days in the same places where he was young and energetic, greeted by adoring crowds, feted as a hero, and sleeping with many, many women. Now the officials have to keep away violent protesters and quickly paint over the graffiti denouncing him. The townspeople respond tepidly, if at all, to his arrival and any attempts to recreate the past – playing the waltz that he previously ordered to be done continuously – fall flat. It also appears that his dream of a united South America will never happen, as the political infighting grows worse, and regions split off.

There’s no overt magical events, but there is a quixotic feel to the book, even though it was based on true events and it is obvious that Garcia Marquez did extensive research (describing the writings and works of some of Bolívar’s companions after his death, for example). Besides the night and day reactions to the General, his journeys have the sad, inevitable feeling of never happening and never going anywhere. At the beginning, he is constantly talking about leaving with his retinue, but many believe he will never leave. There’s always a reason – someone wants him to stay, he needs a passport. When they finally start out, it is with the plan of reaching Cartagena and taking a ship to London. No one believes this plan, and the General’s attempts to make it believable almost sabotage it even more. With all his appointments, terms as president, taking and retaking various places, his life seems to have a circular or repetitive quality – certainly making the title appropriate. There are a couple instances of disappearing women or ghosts that the general believes he sees, although who can know the truth about that? His legal wrangling over the Aroa mines also has a Kafka-esque or Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce feel.

Bolívar’s character is not always sympathetic, but always interesting. His friends and supporters, like his money, are dwindling and he really is only close to his oldest servant, Jose Palacios. Even Manuela Saez, his lover of years, keeps him at a distance – she made a firm resolution not to be dragged down with him. He’s irascible, stubborn, foolish, and his extreme need to be admired and not criticized moves into slightly unhealthy territory. There are several examples of Bolivar’s cruel or violent actions, but I almost felt there should be more of that. The main contrast is between his former glory and present misery. But this was a good read, and reminded me that I should read more Garcia Marquez. ( )
1 vote DieFledermaus | Feb 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Had Bolivar not existed, Mr. Garcia Marquez would have had to invent him. Seldom has there been a more fitting match between author and subject. Mr. Garcia Marquez wades into his flamboyant, often improbable and ultimately tragic material with enormous gusto, heaping detail upon sensuous detail, alternating grace with horror, perfume with the stench of corruption, the elegant language of public ceremony with the vulgarity of private moments, the rationalistic clarity of Bolivar's thought with the malarial intensity of his emotions, but tracing always the main compulsion that drives his protagonist: the longing for an independent and unified South America.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
García Márquez, GabrielAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brotherus, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morino, AngeloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Борисова, АллаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It seems that the devil controls the business of my life.
(Letter to Santander, August 4, 1823
For Alvaro Mutis, who gave me the idea for writing this book
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Jose Palacios, his oldest servant, found him floating naked with his eyes open in the purifying waters of his bath and thought he had drowned.
Lo que mi señor piensa, sólo mi señor lo sabe
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394582586, Hardcover)

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 his witnesses 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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Recounts the turbulent life of the great Simon Bolivar.

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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