The General in His Labyrinth
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The General in His Labyrinth

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  8,369 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez's most political novel is the tragic story of General Simón Bolívar, the man who tried to unite a continent.

Boli­var, known in six Latin American countries as the Liberator, is one of the most revered heroes of the western hemisphere; in Garcìa Màrquez's brilliant reimagining he is magnificently flawed as well. The novel follows Bolívar as he take...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Everyman's Library (first published January 1st 1989)
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Jun 26, 2007 Brent rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: hard-core Latin American historians only!
Boy, I trudged my way through this fictionalized account of Simón Bolívar's final voyage along the Magdalena River. The prose is sharp and beautiful when it needs to be (this is, after all, García Marquez), but the story held no interest. In fact, I'm tempted to ask in response: what story?

People and places from the General's life are constantly evoked, but on this point I have two major critiques: first, the flashbacks are far too paltry (a page or two at most) to really generate any parallel -...more
Lamski Kikita
Sep 15, 2008 Lamski Kikita rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: those interetsed in Latin American history, the Bolivarian movement, Gabo addicts
Everyone knows of the big historical events that took place in the 1800 during the liberation of Latin America from the Spanish colonization that are of course associated with Simon Bolivar-aka the Liberator. Apart from his vision for a united Latin America that would form the biggest country that would be "half of the world," his wars for integration, and his glories, no one cares to know about his end.

Gabo had to do extensive reasearch for two years, contacting people from so many different wa...more
Follows the last few weeks and days of the life of Simon Bolivar as he surrenders political power and travels down the Magdalena River to the coast on his last journey. While he travels there are reflections on his past, his role in the wars of independence against Spain and his political ambitions.

This is an interesting historical novel in (shades of Wolf Hall here) that the author was trying to remodel the popular image of the man. Bolivar has been seen as a founding father for many of the fo...more
Garcia-Marquez, one of the world’s literary masters, not just of this era but of all time, tells the story of Simon Bolivar’s last months in this thoughtful, moving, elegiac novel. Bolivar is the Great Liberator, freeing the South American holdings of Spain from imperial rule, intending to create a single federalist republic of the former colonial states, a United States of South America, but having won independence, there are squabbles and rebellions among the armies of liberation. Military and...more
Ben Babcock
I always feel a twinge of pity when someone tells me, “I don’t read for pleasure any more” or “I only read non-fiction.” Most of the pity is sympathy for the fact that, in today’s busy world, we just don’t have the time. Whenever someone expresses awe at the number of books I read in a year and asks me how I do it, I say, truthfully, that I make the time to read, just as I make the time to write these reviews. So I realize that the act of reading is itself a commitment, an investment of time and...more
Sep 22, 2009 Chloe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chloe by: Lorena K.
Everybody loves a hero. Everybody loves it even more when a hero falls from grace. There are few things that humans enjoy more than taking a powerful person down a peg or two. In fact, we get a sick thrill from it. Whether it’s the rising up of a virginal starlet (take your pick, they’re a dime a dozen) so that we may delight in tearing her to pieces when she is unable to live up to the exceptionally demanding standards of behavior we set for others to abide by, or the fall from grace of an espe...more
'The General In His Labyrinth' is Marquez's fictional reconstruction of Simon Bolivar's, the liberator of South America from the Spanish, last days. Being an Indian I am not 100% sure of the historical accuracy in the novel, but people expecting a hardcore historical novel may be disappointed as Marquez weaves his own brand of magic interspersing events and actions that you would not expect in a novel of this genre while maintaining the relevance of the genre also. After all, this is a person wh...more
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Tim Fiester
Garcia Marquez is one of my all-time favorite authors (heck, our daughter is named after him). "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is at #2 on my All-Time Top 5 Books and I like magical realism. Unfortunately, that is where "The General ..." parts ways with me. This book is told in basically a journalistic style. That's not surprising, given that Garcia Marquez worked as a reporter in his early days, but this book could have been so much more if it followed in the wake of his other works, in short,...more
Leggere questo libro sapendo che Marquéz molto probabilmente non scriverà più, mi ha fatto molto male.
"Il generale nel suo labirinto" è un canto, un memoriale dedicato a Simon Bolìvar, alle sue imprese, le sue gesta e i suoi amori. Marquéz ci racconta la storia di questo generale malato che partendo da Bogotà discende il fiume Magdalena, per l'ultimo viaggio.
Noi conosciamo la figura di Bolìvar, non solo come generale amato dal popolo e bersagliato dalle critiche ingiuste, ma anche come eroe ro...more
Michael VanZandt
A provocative read into the psyche of Bolivar. I feel as though I am hamstrung by my own ignorance of South American history during this period, as well as much of Bolivar's life.

It was fascinating to read into the inner politics between his generals and him. The names really lacked meaning they should have.

All that set aside, Marquez does an admirable job delving into the existential questions that Bolivar faced, or that Bolivar should have been asking himself in the first place. The novel slo...more
Triumphantly Rock Star Great, especially when it comes to use of swear words.

Favorite quotes:

1. "Well, you have chosen the wrong destiny," he said. "The only wars here will be civil wars and those are like killing your own mother."

2. "We have always been poor and we haven't needed anything," he told him.
"The truth is just the opposite," said the General. "We have always been rich and we haven't anything left."
Mohammed Alsoufi
ككل كتابات ماركيز،، رائع في الوصف، سردي جدا، حوارات قليلة ولكن مفعولها قوي، هذه المرة هناك حقيقة لانه عبارة عن سيرة لشخص وليست رواية واقعية سحرية كما عودنا ماركيز ..

قد يكون تقييمي باربعة نجوم من خمسة هو انتقاصا من قرائتي للكتاب وليس للكتاب نفسه،، حيث مرت فترات في الكتاب لم اعد اميز ان ما مكتوب هو الزمن الحالي للنص او ذكريات وتشابكت الامور، ساحاول قرائته مرة اخرى لاحقا لان كل ما كتبه ماركيز يجب ان يُقرأ مرتين على الاقل.
لم أحتمل الترجمة و تهت , أرى تأجيلها قليلا فليس من عادتى اليأس من كتاب , و لكنى عدت للقراءة بعد فترة إنقطاع و لا أريد إفساد عودتى الحميدة
Errol Orhan
Marquez has written quite a few acclaimed masterpieces, and I like to think that The General in His Labyrinth is one of them.

I bought the book when I was on the airport of Budapest. Although I wasn't really intent on buying a book, I stumbled across the penguin version of this book at the airport's bookstore. I had already read Hunderd Years of Solitude and Love in Times of Cholera (and found them truly magical), but I had heard that Marquez had also written some books that had a political setti...more
This book is not a work of magical realism; Neither is it an insightful biography. There are flashes of Marquez brilliance (for instance, the prose in the ending), but, overall, this book left me wanting.

I tried to read it several years ago, but didn't have the background. To prepare myself I started a number of Bolivar biographies, but didn't have the background for them either. I recently found what I needed in Marie Arana's "Bolivar: American Liberator" where I learned about Francisco Miranda...more
Gabriel Jaime Zapata
Excelente obra del maestro GGM, se ve porque es una de las mejores.

Nos hace un recuento de los últimos días del Libertador en su estado de profunda enfermedad, soportando un largo viaje a través del río Magdalena, partiendo desde Santa Fe de Bogotá, de donde fue "expulsado", hasta su lugar de muerte, la ciudad de Santa Marta; viaje en el que enfrentó adversidades como la muerte de su reemplazo el Mariscal Sucre, la traición de sus "amigos" de revolución, la ovación y la desaprobación del pueblos...more
أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
و من مثلُ ماركيز ؟!!
التاريخ يتكلّم هنا و بلادٌ عانت قرونا من الأشلاء و الحروب و الهويّة ,
و " البطل " الذي يتجسّد في الحروف كإنسان منعتق من أسطورته , يترك حروبه على خصر أنثاه , ويرشّ ماء الكولونيا بينما يتذكّر آخر من حاول اغتياله , و يتمرجح على وقع الأحلام التي تتصارع كآلهة اليونان ...
جميلة هذه الرحلة بتفاصيلها و قفزاتها عبر الزمن و النهر الذي تمشي فيه البلاد و ذاكرة البشر حوله بما تحويه من شعارات بطولة و أمجاد و عار و حروب و دم و أحقاد و أحلام و بنادق و وطن و نساء ...
I revisited this novel after reading the new biography of Simon Bolívar by Marie Arana, because after her factual description of what is known about the last weeks of Bolívar’s life, it seemed only appropriate to see them as re-imagined by García Márquez. I would strongly recommend the combination of books for anyone interested in the life of this most fascinating man.

Gabo is obviously captivated by Bolívar’s story for many reasons. He says that in part he wrote it because of his friend, Alvaro...more
The subject of the story is the journey of the General, the ex-President of the Republic of Gran Colombia Simon Bolivar along the Magdalena River to the Caribbean coastline. The greatest hero of Latin America, who had sacrificed his youth and health for the independence of the continent, advocated the abolition of slavery and popular education, and, though "...had wrested from Spanish domination an empire five times more vast than all of Europe" and "...led 20 years of wars to keep it free and u...more
Althea Ann
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 event...more
Rowland Bismark
Simon Bolivar almost succeeded in his lofty goal of liberating all of South America from the colonial powers that controlled it in the early days of the nineteenth century. But he lived to see many of his dreams and ambitions crumble amid the decay of his own health. This book chronicles his last days, trying to keep his dreams alive while his followers dwindle and his resources evaporate. Bolivar was never in doubt about his own place in history. He was born a true megalomaniac, a genius, a rem...more
Tariq Mahmood
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 aids in just over a decade! I saw huge similarities between the general and Pakistan's founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Jinnah rapidly lost favour among his peers and subordinates soon after creating Pakistan from the clutches of Hindu domination.
But I found the book difficult to follow as I knew very little about th...more
Tenía años con la ganas de leer este libro.. No lo encontraba hasta que en la feria del libro conseguí una edición bastante vieja pero resistente y me animé a comprarlo...

Como siempre no me defraudó, es una historia que te muestra un poco más íntimamente al ídolo Bolivar y su lado más humano.. sus pesares, dolores y malestares en ese su último viaje antes de morir... Como murió pobre, casi olvidado y odiado por la mayoría del pueblo al que ayudó a liberar.. Sin duda la historia es ingrata y la p...more
I liked this book. It's about Simon Bolivar's last months of life, and as he travels up or down the Magdalena River he remembers the past and contemplates the present and the future of the continent of South America, or as the books says, the Americas.
Don't get confused at the names thrown at you, don't try to remember what happens in order, I'd say just read and know that everything revolves around one character, and that that character, General Bolivar, functions as a deeply troubled, burdene...more
The narrative employs the devices of fiction (poetic language, symbolism, psychological realism) to tell of some of Simon Bolivar’s experiences late in his life. Although he is in a position of power, most of his activity is spent on writing letters, traveling, remembering past loves and sleeping. While it is useful to know something about the life of the historical Simon Bolivar, the book can be enjoyed for Garcia Marquez’s great writing.
"It seems the devil controls the business of my life"
"Let's go, no one loves us here"
"How will I get out of this labyrinth?"

With minimal knowledge of South American history, I was able to follow this imagining of Simon Bolivar's last days and have whet my appetite to find out more about Latin American history.

GGM is not my favorite writer, I find parts get bogged down. The same happened in this novel, but overall I found it enjoyable to "listen in" on Bolivar's thoughts as a dying man looking b...more
Bruno Alves da Silva
Na onda das leituras de Gabriel García Márquez, O general em seu labirinto está entre os que ganharam uma versão com o novo (lindíssimo) projeto gráfico neste começo de ano, junto a Ninguém escreve ao coronel, resennhado há algumas semanas atrás. Este livro tem uma proposta semi-jornalística, semi-romântica que acaba em um livro que poderia se chamar de romance histórico. Este livro especificamente conta a história do El Libertador da América Latina, o general Simón Bolívar, figura que Gabo fez...more
Wonderful details make the story, much more than the (intentionally?) labyrinth-like plot line. As with all Marquez main characters, the general had a fabulously entertaining love life.
Justine Nolt
I usually don't review book I haven't finished, but I think an exception is in order. I attempted to read this book because of Looking for Alaska and Alaska's recurring question about the Labyrinth (I have a thing for books or movies mentioned in books I like). I got about 2/3 of the way through and just couldn't bring myself to finish it; it was slow moving and mainly revolved around him visiting friends, getting sick, and moving somewhere else; there seemed to be no plot. Perhaps I will give i...more
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Gabriel José de la Concordia Garcí­a Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Garcí­a Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He started as a journalist, and wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short storie...more
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