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The General in His Labyrinth

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  9,214 ratings  ·  371 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 1989)
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Community Reviews

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Jim
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...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
Brent
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
Jan-Maat
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
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
Rick
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
Chloe
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
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
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 ...
dirt
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."
WordsBeyondBorders
'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
Benji
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Simona
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
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.
Rola
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
Louise
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
Shane
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...more
Tanuj Solanki
The unavoidable error of not re-reading a Marquez novel immediately after the first reading.
John
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
adam
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.
Barberry
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
Luis Diaz
Recomiendo mucho este libro, Simón Bolívar como nunca lo imaginé, en sus últimos dias y no tan gloriosos de vida. Muy bueno

Este libro conecto una parte de la historia que yo no conocía. Este libro es la mejor forma de leer y aprender historia sin sentir que estas aprendiendo la misma. Me tomé un descanso de la distopia de Legend, para entrar en la historia.
Isaura
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
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Historical vs Fictional Episodes 2 9 May 28, 2013 04:15PM  
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13450
(Arabic: جابرييل جارسيا ماركيز)

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 a...more
More about Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez...
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“Freedom is often the first casualty of war.” 160 likes
“I'll never fall in love again... it's like having two souls at the same time.” 57 likes
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