Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “El otoño del patriarca” as Want to Read:
El otoño del patriarca
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

El otoño del patriarca

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  17,815 ratings  ·  1,064 reviews
El tema de El otono del patriarca, que por su estructura y su lenguaje no tiene precedentes en la literatura latinoamericana y ni siquiera en la obra del autor, son las ilusiones y la soledad irremediable del poder encarnadas en una figura anonima y mitica que es la de muchos patriarcas de la America Latina pero tambien, de algun modo, el protagonista ejemplar de las calam ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Vintage Espanol (first published 1975)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about El otoño del patriarca, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Bambino I normally make a fire when my house is cold. In this novel Marquez decided to make a fire at every single moment. So, even in summertime, when the ho…moreI normally make a fire when my house is cold. In this novel Marquez decided to make a fire at every single moment. So, even in summertime, when the house is already boiling, Marquez keeps on throwing wood into the fireplace. The result is, of course, great comfort in the winter and some painful moments in the summer.

So it's summer, you're sweating and dehydrating, an Marquez is there keeping the fire high while sharing some of the most beautiful poems you have ever heard. Yes, the poems are amazing, but, definitely, something is out of place in that scorching tenement and you just feel like running outside.

In any form of art we can see that concepts, when taken to extremes, asphyxiate beauty. This book is a fine example of that.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,815 ratings  ·  1,064 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of El otoño del patriarca
A novel of blazing, indefatigable brilliance. A tale in which absolute power of a uniquely Caribbean variety corrupts its possessor absolutely. Year by year el presidenté grows ever farther from any connection with his people until he's a pampered Howard Hughes-like recluse. In his detachment he looses a succession of evil proxies on his people, who perpetrate genocides without a cause. In one, 20,000 children are murdered for their unwitting collusion in a lottery scam which el presidenté alway ...more
The Caribbean Bates Motel

Perhaps one of the longest sustained rants in literary history. Certainly an anti-dictatorial polemic which spares the reader nothing of the disadvantages of uncontrolled power - torture, arbitrary execution, sadism, and a general lack of good taste. Even if the dictator in question does love his mother.

The United States of course is the catalytic force for the dictatorial regime and its flaws. Well sort of, since one could hardly insist that previous governments were b
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to distinguish the writer's infamous tone & subject matter in this sumptuous tale which might be the first time that a character study is so well meshed with the locale of his biography: "The Autumn of the Patriarch" in less than fifty sentences spanning pages & pages and a thick layering of symbols and leit motifs, tells the sad story of a mad tyrant ruler who, despite being bathed in power and glory, is nonetheless a HUMAN: he kills but suffers immensely and if the book were a pa ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Hypnotic and brilliant.

This is my fourth Garcia Marquez book and this is said to be his most difficult book to read. It took him four (1968-1971) years to write this book. Four years. He wrote this as a follow up novel to his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude that catapulted him to stardom in the world literary arena. This was his most recent novel when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

I picked this 1001 book because there was a new member in our book club who is also a GGM
Update: Rest in peace, dear Márquez. Your books will always live on.

Why do I let Márquez torture me so, with his convoluted sentence structures and brilliant use of the comma, his obvious disdain of the semi-colon and colon, the thoughts that go on and on, so intricate and philosophical these sentences that he has me choosing his words over the weekend movie or tennis game, has me so brainwashed that I'm typing this review and can't seem to stop for something as simple as that small dot known
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Garcia Marquez at his most complex and polemical. It is an uncomfortable read, disturbing at times. It is also difficult with very few chapters, no paragraphs and sentences that go on for several pages. Garcia Marquez conducts an extended love affair with the comma; his punctuation mark of choice in this book.
The novel concerns the nameless dictator of a nameless Caribbean nation; principally it is the story of his decline and death with added detail concerning his bloody reign. He has
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
finally i finished this disgusting but admirable ...

"The Autumn of the Patriarch" is a remarkable and clear psychological portrait of a dictator, and beautifully written but it is despicable and terrible subject.
At first people loved him beacuse they thought and believed he has the power of healing. But his infinite power created a lot of political corruption. so ancient dictator remained alone and wandered in the empty palace with cows and hens.
it was an image of death and decay an
Richard Derus
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Real Rating: 4.75* of five

I can't full-five a book I read three decades ago in the midst of my Latin-American-delights phase. I can tell you that the translation is excellent, captures the spirit of the original Spanish if not the literal idioms. It's a brief book but not a light one, in any sense of the word. I suspect lots of readers look at its length and think, "oh goody good good, a shorty and I can say I've read a García Márquez!"

And were they ever sorry.

Fascism was fought back into hidey
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
It took Garcia seven years to write this book. Seven years. I guess that's how long it takes to make sure fifty-page chapters are turned into one paragraph and as few sentences as possible. But the effect is to make the entire book run together and make each story within the story melt into the ones around it. The consequence is ending the reader's sense of chronology, timeline, and even details. We are only left with the horrible man - and leader - that was the patriarch.

And when the story abo
Nandakishore Varma
Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside, and at dawn on Monday the city woke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur.
Thus begins Gabriel Garcia Marquez's acclaimed novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, about the life and death of the dictator in an unnamed Latin American country. This first
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maintaining lucidity is a central challenge for both audience and protagonist in the dizzying and illusory narrative of Marquez's Autumn of the Patriarch. While its easy to dwell on the uncompromising style of a novel devoid of paragraphs, punctuation, and quotations delineating dialogue, such blurry tactics seal the bizarre entrancement of a novel concerned with the solitude of a bastard patriarch. Certainly it's no easy pie being tossed randomly into an unspecified Caribbean climate and period ...more
They walk under its shadow. And it feels forever. They breathe their warm heart out under its all-pervasive blanket for so many countless instants (sometimes their entire lives) that the line drawing its glistening touch and blistering wrath becomes blurred.

Ask the earth that curled under its downpour, seek the fauna that lies huddled in apprehensive terror, summon the pebbles that were no match to its stony shower, shuffle the air that still carries its haughty scent in its chest, question the
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ryan golden
Recommended to jess by: me!
on the whole, the novel is impressive. i can't imagine what it took for him to write this whole thing the way that he did. most of the sentences run for ten pages, moving from one point-of-view to another without warning, from dreams to real-life (maybe?)action. at the beginning of each chapter, we are reminded that the patriarch of the novel's title is dead, but we are quickly taken back to years before his death and pushed through memories of the years leading up to his first fake and then rea ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Perhaps Marquez's most lyrical pitch-somewhat ironic given his reputation of one of the great romance novelists-'The Autumn of the Patriarch' is by turns a harrowing and yet beautiful account of the life of the practically immortal dictator, whose egotism fosters a god complex in his own mind; a man of interminable age and boundless power, the dictator is an exaggerate caricature of various real-life dictators and a warning to what happens when so much power is concentrated into the hands of a s ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I was forced to chose a single favourite book, this would be it. I red it when I was 16 for the first time and I can still remember myself thinking "bloody hell, that's it! that's how books are supposed to be written - no rules, no boundaries, no cliches or fake emotions. Just plain, nude feelings and thoughts... so deep, so poisoning and suffocating!". This love of first sight (or, to be more accurate, of first page) totally ruined my literature grades - with notes from the teacher "shorten ...more
The Autumn of the Patriarch by one of my favorite Latin American authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was a very disturbing account of a most tyrannical dictator in the Caribbean as he faces the last days of his reign. Many years ago when we were vacationing in Mexico, we met this lovely couple from Mexico City in Puerto Vallarta. It was a delightful time as we became acquainted and one of the threads that drew us together was the beautiful literature of Gabriel Garcia Marquez that resonated with al ...more
Nov 18, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
If ever a book a stumped my rhythm, this one takes the prize. It is written as one fluid thought, one ranting narrative, sans paragraphs, with sentences that rival even St. Paul's run-ons.

It's racy, delusional, oh so very violent (in language, sex, war, illness, execution, thought, etc.), and even comical at times. Each time I laugh, I feel a tinge of guilt - like the uncontrollable snicker at a disabled person tripping over their untied shoelaces into a puddle of water.

I've decided that it's b
Nov 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time a book from a Guardian Top Ten List has failed me. It was in the ‘Top Ten Books about Tyrants’ and sounded the most appealing plus it’s written by the author of A Hundred Years of Solitude, which is supposed to be a classic. I should have recognised the warning signs of said list because the Stalin book i read is on there, which was an absolute chore to read.

An unnamed dictator lies dead on the floor of his palace so the reader is given a glimpse into his past by way of th
Apr 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where to start, this was terrible, and really, really dreadful, there was no direction, no goal, no nothing, reading it was difficult but I can usually deal with that if it was well written but it was not, this novel consists of memories, or reminiscences, of six people, presumably six different people but who the fuck knows, of the asshole of assholes, the Perpetual Dictator and his story, oh before I forget he is delusional, ridiculous, and cruel, the first thing that hits you are the sentence ...more
Bogdan Raț
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Why is this my alltime favorite?

On the official site of the Nobel Prize there is a questionnaire, asking you to tell what is your favorite book from a Nobel laureate and why. I had a a moment of hesitation, whether to choose The autumn of the patriarch or Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann, but deep in my heart I already knew, there was no doubt about it, that this was my pick. Ok, so basically the questionnaire, at least to me, was reduced to saying why it is my favorite. I wrote "any words would be
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an artwork - a universal story of the oldest dictator of all times. To be able to write like this, probably having a total of ten phrases over more than 200 pages, and making sense, and not boring the reader, needs some touch a genious, and Marquez possess plenty of that. The descriptions, the poetry, the images, Benedicion Alvarado....i enjoyed every page.
Nothing more to add, reading this book is a fantastic experience. There is only one problem - if you read this one while commut
Long, long, long sentences/paragraphs. Repetitive words. Memories, depravity, ruthlessness, hypocrisy and fear. These describe the decaying world and mind of an egotistical dictator who murders on a whim and is the archetype of evil tyrant thinking.
I found it hard reading but thinking about it I can see the brilliance of the picture it paints and wonder about how close it depicts life in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC.
TW: rape was the same one, queen, older than the earth, the painful medusa of light the size of the sky which with every hand measure of its trajectory was returning a million years to its origins...

...we had even extinguished the last breath of the hopeless hope that someday the repeated and always denied rumor that he had finally succumbed to one of his many regal illnesses would be true, and yet we didn't believe it now that it was, and not because we really didn't believe it but beca
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While on a word by word level the language is often lyrical and inventive, this book suffers from overinflective prose and a sort of misleading vividness. What results is plot totally dominated by the character alluded to in title... an intentional fallacy often compounded with monotonous hyper-emphasis... I say intentional because the narration is simultaneously doing all sorts of stunts - changing person(s), refusing paragraph breaks, making asides - to draw attention to itself. In the end, I ...more
Lamski Kikita
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you start this book you will be taken aback by the intensely strong language (both difficult AND vulgar) and the very very very long sentences which sometimes are as long as the whole chapter. But at the first page you are sure to be mesmerized by the beautiful prose and intense imagery, and the small details that just keep u pinned to your chair tasting fully every word.

The story of your typical Latin tyrant, but with a little twist in detail which makes him more of a criminal, pervert, lo
This is the most powerful GGM novel I have read. Written over 7 years from 1968 to 1975 it metaphorically condemns dictatorial powers. Rafeal Trujillo comes to mind, but there were many other (Caribbean and elsewhere) dictators of the time to inspire it and the portrait is valid today.

You read how the dictator treats his double, courts the most beautiful woman in the country, destroys anyone with a hint of knowledge of his ill gotten gains, marries and how his wife and son die and what is done
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first and third novels in Gabriel García Márquez’s trilogy, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, are better known and more frequently read than this, the middle volume. It is not hard to understand why. The style itself of this work makes it less accessible, a style that is stream-of-consciousness throughout, often from different characters’ viewpoints within a single massive sentence, and a narrative that really goes almost nowhere, a multi-layered reflection on th ...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
A very strange book that narrates the decline of a paranoid dictatorial regime and his "Patriarch". A totally crazy and surrealist story, which, however, behind all this madness hides many things. Through this story, the author refers to all the dictatorial regimes imposed on the world and characterized by absolute paranoia and by the personality cult towards the supposed great leader, who in fact was a man of modest possibilities, not particularly smart, with a tendency to sinking into his own ...more
This is definitely not an easy read - mostly written in chapter length paragraphs and sentences running over several pages, and deliberately rambling, digressive and repetitive. However, after a while it becomes quite hypnotic, full of fascinating detail and reflective of the state of mind of the aged and increasingly lonely dictator at its heart, who is portrayed mercilessly and with the surreal exaggeration familiar from Márquez's other works. This is not a book I would recommend to newcomers ...more
Just for fun let's briefly compare The Autumn of the Patriarch to the book he wrote previously: One Hundred Years of Solitude. After that, there is some suspect advice to the reader in a footnote.

First, the earlier book:

One Hundred Years of Solitude is monumentally life-affirming, using magical, resplendent prose. It's experimental, but only up to a point; the author challenges but never abandons his reader, who is made a willing participant of the magic itself. That engagement simply is its gre
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Gabriel García Márquez: a Life
  • The Fragrance of the Guava
  • ¡Que viva la música!
  • Hopscotch
  • The Feast of the Goat
  • ¿Dónde está la franja amarilla?
  • La ciudad y los perros
  • Făt-frumos din lacrimă
  • Fata babei şi fata moşneagului
  • Ivan Turbincă
  • The War of the End of the World
  • Prosas profanas y otros poemas
  • L'Odyssee
  • Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
  • Cuentos inolvidables según Julio Cortázar
  • Ficciones
  • Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?
  • Si te dicen que caí
See similar books…
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 later worked as a reporter for the Colombian

Related Articles

In a year that seems to present new challenges for us at every turn, Julia Alvarez’s latest novel, Afterlife, has arrived at the perfect time.
48 likes · 14 comments
“...the day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole” 64 likes
“أجيبيه بنعم حتى ولو كنتي تموتين فزعاً ، وحتى لو ندمتِ فيما بعد ، لأنكِ على أية حال ستندمين طوال حياتكِ إن أنتي أجبتيه بلا .” 48 likes
More quotes…