Review Of "The General In His Labyrinth" By G. G. Marquez, Translated By E. Grossman

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When this novel by Colombia's Nobel laureate first appeared in Spanish in 1989 it caused a heated controversy among the author's Latin American compatriots. In general, Latin Americans tended to be infuriated by the worldly and extremely realistic treatment of Simon Bolivar, their "Great Liberator" and hero in the campaign against the Spanish in the last century's wars for independence. The novel recounts General Bolivar's final journey down the Magdalena River as he prepares to leave a continent that has rejected his dream of unification. In narrating the general's journey down the river and into eventual exile, Garcia Marquez masterfully weaves memory with scenes from the present, juxtaposing the general's own existential labyrinth with that awaiting the continent he had hoped to unify. This text, like many of its predecessors, is an extraordinary study of the solitude of power, of the deterioration of body and spirit, of loss and disillusion, and of the inevitability of death. In it Garcia Marquez has created one of his most intriguing literary characters. The translation by Edith Grossman, who also did Love in the Time of Cholera (CH, Sep'88), is superb. Recommended for all libraries.


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