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I recently read the author's acclaimed work "Love in the Time of Cholera" and enjoyed it very much. It spurred me to seek out more work by Marquez, hence this and several others that I recently purchased. My second foray into Marquez was "One Hundred Years of Solitude". I was very disappointed in that novel and concerned that I'd perhaps already seen the best he had to offer. Luckily, I followed up with "Love and Other Demons", finding it to be well worthwhile the effort. While not up to the standards of that novel, I nevertheless enjoyed this work.

Marquez's writing is certainly unique in its earthiness. He deals with such subjects as sex, bodily functions and graphic illness as if they are parts of everyday life ... because they are. It is refreshing.

Marquez is also known as one of the leading practitioners of the literary device of "magical realism" in which events are introduced into the story which are quite fantastic (for example, a character being swept away into the sky as though taken to heaven, a rain event that lasts over four years followed by an absolute drought of ten years). This was a major device used in One Hundred Years of Solitude and perhaps contributed to my dissatisfaction with that work.

This work, on the other hand, is virtually a non-fiction work, having as its subject the final days of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of the Americas. The General, at a very unhealthy 46 years of age has withdrawn from political life and announced his pending exile to Europe as he begins his journey in Bogota, floats down the Magdalena River, spends some time in Cartagena fomenting intrigue before his journey (and life) ends in Soledad.

Throughout the odyssey, we witness the deteriorating physical condition (apparently tuberculosis) of the General as we are treated to numerous flashbacks of his fascinating life and adventures. The General is depressed and emotionally volatile as he witnesses the collapse of his lifetime dream and goal, the independence and unification of northern South America into a global super power. Even as the General wastes away, he observes the almost pre-ordained collapse of the fragile union of states and the pending insurrections and civil wars breaking out within them. It is a mess and he is powerless to prevent the carnage, though his very nature leads him to make the attempt.

The author's writing is indisputably beautiful and at times mesmerizing. Much like LitToC, this is a haunting and compelling story, filled with sadness and regret. It is an intriguing look into the mind of one of the most compelling and important figures in world history.
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on October 7, 2015
I have read this novel in the original Spanish and enjoyed it very much. I decided to re-read it in the English translation. I enjoyed this as well. Edith Grossman has captured Garcia Marquez style very well. The novel relates the last days of Simón Bolívar as he leaves Bogotá for his final stop at Santa Marta. The book is populated by interesting secondary characters. The cadence of the book flows along like the Magdalena River; it is inexorably leading to the tragic end in Santa Marta. In English or in Spanish, the book sings a melancholy but fascinating song.
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on March 20, 2016
This book is so good that I think I have read it three times now. Simon Bolivar is one of the most intriguing and amazing characters in human history, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the perfect writer to portray him. The only other book of this genre I have enjoyed as much is Mark Twain's Joan of Arc.
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on July 16, 2016
The General in his Labyrinth is about power and the loss of power, about being challenged by the labyrinth of desire to pursue a dream versus the reality of it not happening. It is also about The General's love of country, love of his people and of women.
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on January 5, 2013
I am glad to have read several of Gabriel Gracia Marquez' books, given they are considered great works. I found them to be compelling (I never wanted to put the book down), and yet, I don't feel I am able to adequately appreciate his material; I think a better appreciation requires more knowledge of (or at least exposure to) his cultural context. There's something about his writing TONE that makes the reader want to be very sympathetic towards the characters. However, I never really felt I understood them.
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on April 25, 2017
My favorite author.
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on August 5, 2016
This is a re-read for me. .just,revisiting one of my favorite author s
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on June 16, 2016
Good book.
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on November 12, 2015
A long decline of the the famous general.
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on July 10, 2015
Read this for my college history class. Overall it was pretty good.
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