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General Simon Bolivar, “the Liberator” of five South American countries, takes a last melancholy journey down the Magdalena River, revisiting cities along its shores, and reliving the triumphs, passions, and betrayals of his life. Infinitely charming, prodigiously successful in love, war and politics, he still dances with such enthusiasm and skill that his witnesses cannot believe he is ill. Aflame with memories of the power that he commanded and the dream of continental unity that eluded him, he is a moving exemplar of how much can be won—and lost—in a life.
His most tedious work
The title of the review says it all. Garcia Marquez still has a magical way of stringing together sentences and paragraphs with such beauty, but this novel is bogged down by sprawling, criss-crossing recollections and side-stories, including a list of generals, marshals, and aides-de-camp that is much too large to make sense of without drawing a map. It was truly a slog for me to finish, though GGM deftly handles the closing moments of the story, when death is finally the certain conclusion, with the grace and excellence of his best writing.