Books: The Man Who Plowed the Sea

THE GENERAL IN HIS LABYRINTH by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Translated by Edith Grossman; Knopf; 285 pages; $19.95

Putting last things first is an old storyteller's trick, and there isn't a trickier old storyteller than Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A good example of his skill comes early in this new novel about the final days of Simon Bolivar, and it is worth quoting if only to demonstrate how a maestro establishes his theme:

"It was the end. General Simon Jose Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolivar y Palacios was leaving forever. He had wrested from Spanish domination an empire five times more vast...

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