Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 194
The General in His Labyrinth, by Gabriel García Márquez, begins with Simón Bolívar, also known as “the General,” getting ready to leave Colombia for Europe. García Márquez shows a more human, flawed side of Bolívar than is usually seen, and this depiction received a mixed response. Bolívar leaves Colombia, traveling the Magdalena River, and it is obvious that he is deteriorating. His health is poor, and he is not as revered as he once was. During his trip, he meets up with an old friend, is stopped by police (then, when they believe he is still the president, they celebrate him), and learns of the upheaval of the government he has left behind. This is devastating to him and fills him with a sense of futility. Eventually, he dies, his attempt to go to Europe having failed. Throughout the novel (which is a fictionalized version of events that really did take place in the last months of Bolívar’s life), Bolívar reflects on his life and time as President and liberator, giving new depth and imagination to the story of Bolívar’s life.