We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Last Days of El Comandante

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780857056122

Price: £14.99

Select a format:


Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

Venezuela 2012: The President’s illness casts a shadow over the lives of his citizens – he divides opinion, but life without him is almost unimaginable.

Miguel Sanabria is a retired oncologist, ambivalent towards the President but caught between a virulently anti-Chávez wife and a equally vehement pro-Chávez brother. He is asked by his nephew to hide a mobile phone carrying secret footage that could shed new light on the President’s condition.

His neighbour Fredy has found a fresh angle for a new book about Chávez, but to take advantage he must agree to a “green-card” marriage and leave his girlfriend and their son for two months, even as their landlady plots to repossess their home.

In another apartment live nine-year-old María and her neurotic, near-agoraphobic mother. Taken out of school to be educated at home, María turns to internet chat rooms for company, while her mother’s fears about the city’s endemic violence are proved tragically prescient.

The fates and fortunes of these neighbours will prove inextricably entwined as the hour of the President’s death draws ever closer.


“A great book” Michael Morpurgo

“Powerful themes and powerful writing” Susan Hill

Translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey


Tyszka is a perceptive, original writer.
Eileen Battersby, Irish Times.
The Venezuelan Ian McEwan.
The best novel about charisma I've read in a long time. Everything it tells us rings true.
His devilish ability to bring together distinct storylines that converge in the apotheosis of a brilliant finale is proof of Barrera's awareness of the finer points of deft and intelligent writing.
El Periódico.
Barrera's prose is clear, rousing, borne of authenticity when it comes to expressing the contradictions of human beings.
La Vanguardia.
Why is Alberto Barrera Tyzska's novel so good? Because, from the first phrase to the last, he keeps us interested, curious, and concerned for what will happen. Because this flair of his reveals a great deal of cultivation, study, and insight into the art of creating suspense. Because his ability to create a redoubtable literary space, which we inevitably associate with the International Sanatorium Berghof in The Magic Mountain, Leopold Bloom's Dublin, or mad Ahab's Pequod, is breathtaking.
El Nacional.
Enthralling . . . with its skilfully wrought atmosphere of suspense and energetic prose
David Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement