García Márquez, Gabriel "The General in His Labyrinth" (Spanish: El general en su laberinto) - 1989
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios, better known to the world as Simón Bolívar lived from 24 July 1783 to 17 December 1830. He is largely considered as THE politician who brought about South America's independence from Spain in the early 19th century. I must admit, I knew his name, I knew he had something to do with south America, the state Bolivia was named after him, as well as the Bolivian and Venezuelan currencies. But that was about all I knew about this man who has been so important to a whole continent.
This book was written by one of the greatest South American authors ever. Even though it concentrates on Bolívar's last journey, the novel is full of details about his whole life and about South America at the time. We can learn about the history of this great continent and how it became what it is now. How it became liberated from being Spanish colonies, the obstacles they had to deal with. Bolívar also had a dream. A dream of a united South America. That this wasn't fulfilled was not his mistake but he certainly died a disappointed man.
Anything written by Gabriel García Márquez is worth reading, whether it is just fiction or, as in this case, historical fiction. Even if you are not interested in history at all, the writing is so beautiful. I wish I could read it in its original language.
From the back cover:
"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 his final journey in 1830 down the Magdalena River toward the sea, revisiting the scenes of his former glory and lamenting his lost dream of an alliance of American nations. Forced from power, dogged by assassins, and prematurely aged and wasted by a fatal illness, the General is still a remarkably vital and mercurial man. He seems to remain alive by the sheer force of will that led him to so many victories in the battlefields and love affairs of his past. As he wanders in the labyrinth of his failing powers and still-powerful memories, he defies his impending death until the last.
The General in His Labyrinth is an unforgettable portrait of a visionary from one of the greatest writers of our time."
Gabriel García Márquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts".
I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.
I have also read by this author:
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Love in the Time of Cholera