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The General in His Labyrinth
is a novel by the Colombian
writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez
. It is a fictionalized account of the last days of Simón Bolívar
, liberator and leader of Gran Colombia
. First published in 1989, the book traces Bolívar's final journey from Bogotá
to the Caribbean coastline of Colombia
in his attempt to leave South America for exile in Europe. In this dictator novel
about a continental hero, "despair, sickness, and death inevitably win out over love, health, and life". Breaking with the traditional heroic portrayal of Bolívar El Libertador
, García Márquez depicts a pathetic protagonist, a prematurely aged man who is physically ill and mentally exhausted. The story explores the labyrinth of Bolívar's life through the narrative of his memories. Its mixture of genres makes The General in His Labyrinth
difficult to classify, and commentators disagree over where it lies on the scale between novel and historical account. García Márquez's insertion of interpretive and fictionalized elements—some dealing with Bolívar's most intimate moments—caused outrage in parts of Latin America
when the book was released. Many prominent Latin American figures believed that the novel damaged the reputation of one of the region's most important historic figures and portrayed a negative image to the outside world.