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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2010

7 - The General in His Labyrinth

Summary

Two central ideas guide this essay. Firstly, The General in His Labyrinth (El general en su laberinto [1989]), while not perhaps the most important of Gabriel García Márquez's novels, is nevertheless a culmination of his career as a writer, a kind of compact summa: not only because it is a literary biography of Latin America's greatest historical icon by a man himself unusually famous and always intrigued by failed heroes, but also because, typologically, it is the book which contains the largest number of different themes and trademark elements which may be identified, in variable degrees, in those other works by García Márquez that preceded and succeeded it. Second, death and burial are perhaps the most compelling and enduring of these central themes that shape García Márquez's writing, just as they shape life itself, and therefore it was particularly appropriate that the Colombian novelist should concentrate on the events leading up to the death of the Great Liberator after so successfully bringing him to life.