Gabo's Bookshelf: 'The General in His Labyrinth'
PAGE 13
The General in His Labyrinth (1989)
By Gabriel García Márquez

Published in 1989 as El general en su labertino, the subject of this novel is General (added here cuz you refer to him as the General below) Simón Bolívar, whom García Márquez removes from the mythic prison of history and places into the magical alembic of his transforming prose. Bolívar, The Liberator, is seen at the end of his life, near the age of 50, taking a seven-month river voyage from Bogotá to the sea. As the journey progresses from port to port, the humanized Bolívar mirrors this journey in his head, passing from one subject of his life to another—his wars, his defeats, his passions, his sins, his loves—all told against the background and weight of the history that the General helped to create, a labyrinthine and internalized structure of disillusionment and frustration.

Perhaps one of García Márquez's most straightforward and accessible novels, this is truly a very sad work, the product of years of research into the life of Bolívar. García Márquez sees the Liberator as a sympathetic figure who dies seeing his world falling apart—his country, the alliances he forged, his dream of American unity, and even his own body.

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