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The General in His Labyrinth

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,583 Ratings  ·  498 Reviews
Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez's most political novel is the tragic story of General Simon Bolivar, 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 Bolivar as he takes h
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Everyman's Library (first published 1989)
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Jul 26, 2015 Jibran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Idleness was painful after so many years of wars, bitter governments, and trivial loves.

The profundity of Simón Bolívar’s vision became the bane of his life. He was destined to be the man who led the Latin American people to freedom from the imperial rule of Spain. Having broken the shackles of slavery he took over the uncontested leadership of the vast continent as the President with the singular aim of unifying the freed countries of the Americas into "the greatest republic the world has ever
This is wonderful. Dense with historical incident, deft characterization, and the telling detail that is García Márquez's hallmark. It's the story of Simón Bolívar--he who liberated South America from Spanish colonial tyranny--and his retreat from public life just prior to his death. The great trick of the novel is to make condensed passages of historical summary ring with life through the recollections of the dying General. Predictably perhaps he obsessively catalogs his enemies' perfidies whic ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had died, I walked over to my shelf of South American literature and picked up The General in His Labyrinth. The story is about the last days of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, as he took a 14-day cruise down the Rio Magdalena to the Caribbean, from whence he would ship out for Europe.

But this was not to be. Not only was the Liberator dying, but he had the misfortune of seeing the proud republics he had founded falling prey to disunity and squabbling. In a
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
Lamski Kikita
Sep 15, 2008 Lamski Kikita rated it really liked it
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
Jun 26, 2007 Brent rated it did not like it  ·  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 -
Luís Blue Yorkie
Shortly before his death, the Liberator notes sparingly objects that fill the room of their exhaustion. Note the "last borrowed bed, the toilet pitiful whose patience cloudy mirror will not make it to reflect the jug of peeled porcelain water, towel and soap into other hands."

Thus, in this farewell tone and nostalgia that Gabriel García Márquez, portrays the last months of life of General Simon Bolivar - the Liberator - in General in His Labyrinth.

Bolivar, revolutionary leader responsible for th
Sep 28, 2008 dirt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mohammed Alsoufi
Jul 16, 2011 Mohammed Alsoufi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
حسين العُمري
رواية على شكل سيرة ذاتية مكثفة للأيام الأخيرة للجنرال سيمون بوليفار الزعيم الذي كان يحلم بتوحيد أمريكا الجنوبية وقاتل ببسالة لتحريرها من الاحتلال الإسباني حتى أطلق عليه لقب المحرر ،، الأيام الأخيرة بكل ما تحمله من إحباطات وأحلام وإنهاك وأمراض حتى لحظة الاحتضار ،، ماركيز هنا يكتب رواية تاريخية مستلهمة من آلاف الأوراق والحكايات والكتب والأحداث كما ذكر في نهاية الكتاب وجاء العمل ليحكي بدقة وغزارة تلك المتاهة التي كان يعيش فيها بوليفار آخر مرحلة من حياته مستذكراً ومحملاً بالكثير من المعارك والوقائع ...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 ...
Apr 11, 2015 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wavered between a three and four star on this classic but finally settled on three stars. Perhaps it lost something in the translation from Spanish to English but I had a tough time following the narrative. The novel depicts the final voyage of the great Latin American liberator, General Simon Bolivar, down the Magdalena River in 1830. The general has fallen from power and his dreams of a united South American nation-state have deteriorated following the wars of liberation. The book is sort of ...more
Apr 03, 2010 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Sep 22, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it
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
Tim Fiester
Sep 22, 2011 Tim Fiester rated it it was ok
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
Dec 07, 2015 Sulaf rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
لم أكن أعرف شيئا عن بوليفار قبل قراءتي للرواية، ولم أشعر عبر الرواية بارتباط بأي من شخصياتها، وهو ما يجذبني عادة ويوقعني في حب تلك الروايات القليلة التي أعتبرها مفضلة لدي. لكن أسلوب ماركيز الساحر طغى على كل تلك "النقائص". شعرت بنفسي أدور في ذات الدوامة مع الجينيرال، وأضيع في متاهاتها إلى جانبه. وبالرغم من أن هذه الرواية لن تنضم إلى قائمة المفضلات، إلا أن غابرييل غارسيا ماركيز أصبح يتربع بكل ثقة على قمة قائمة الكتاب المحبوبين لدي، وأصبحت كتبه أولوية من بين مئات الكتب التي أرغب بقراءتها.
Daniel Clausen
Oct 09, 2015 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing
I can't put into words what I feel about this book. Can love be explained or rationalized?

The starting point of this book is amazing. A man at the end of his life -- once great, still great. His body is decaying, but his spirit is as bright as ever. A man who can't help being who he is.

I read this book and fell in love with its many fantastic sentences and paragraphs. I didn't know what to think about these, so beautiful yet words in translation. Such is life, we are at the whim of mediators.
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
May 19, 2014 Shane rated it liked it
There is very little magic realism here from the master of that form.

This is stylized journalism at its best on the last days in the life of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of America (comprised of only the upper half of South America as we know it today), as he travels the Magdalena River to board a ship to Europe and head off into self-imposed exile, a ship he never boards. His dream for a united country emerging out of the land he liberated from the Spanish is in tatters, for narrow self-enteres
Oct 03, 2011 WordsBeyondBorders rated it it was amazing
'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
Errol Orhan
Jun 23, 2012 Errol Orhan rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 27, 2012 Simona rated it really liked it
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
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
Hussien Fawzy
Jan 10, 2016 Hussien Fawzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ماركيز بيلقن لكل واحد كتب هراء وقال عليه رواية تاريخية درس قاسي .
تدرس فعلا لكل حد مش فاهم يعني إيه أستوحي من التاريخ حتت أعمل بها دلالات معينة وأكون بها عالم خاص من إبداعي حتى لو كنت بتكلم عن شخصية قيادية زي سيمون بوليفار بدون أي تشويه للتاريخ أو إضافة له ، وبين إني أنقل أحداث تاريخية نمطية من غير ما أنقل ككاتب وجهة نظر معينة ، وأسفه من الحدث التاريخي حتى لو كان عظيم بالحوار والسرد الطفولي الساذج اللي خالي من أي روح مع تحوير أحداث تاريخية مهمة وتبقى رواية تاريخية بديعة وكدة .
ماركيز عظيم .
Sep 12, 2015 Usra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سيمون بوليفار محرر امريكا الجنوبية من الأستعمار الإسباني الطويل في أخر ايام حياته يظل متنقلا من بلدة لآخرى في محاولته للسفر إلى اوروبا و هو يحتضر كعجوز سبعيني و بعد لم يتجاوز السابعة و الاربعين من عمره .. يسترجع الكثير من ذكرياته في اغلب الاماكن التي يمر عليها خلال هذه الرحلة الاخيرة في حياته .. الذي لم يؤمن قط بجدوى الاطباء و ادويتهم و يحمل معه دائما كتاب للعلاج بالطب الشعبي .. لم يضع الموت في حسبانه ابدا و ظل يوهم نفسه بأنه معافى و يصر على تحقيق حلمه بتوحيد امريكا الجنوبية .. مات اخيرا يائسا و ...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
Tanuj Solanki
Oct 09, 2014 Tanuj Solanki rated it really liked it
The unavoidable error of not re-reading a Marquez novel immediately after the first reading.
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Historical vs Fictional Episodes 2 16 May 28, 2013 04:15PM  
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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 studied at the University of Bogotá and late worked as a reporter for the Colombian ne
More about Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez...

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