This fluidity with the truth is maddening in this particular tale! The story of the General is narrated by Ramon, an exile from Argentina. You never know at all how much is Ramon's story and how much isn't, even at the end there are doubts. But don't let this slight annoyance detract you from the brilliance of the story telling.
Ramon's story begins during a terrible period in Argentina's recent history. A small boy witnesses his parents being taken away, betrayed by an ex-lover of the mother. The parents are never seen again, The ex-lover 'escapes' to Australia, renames himself Eduardo, and begins a new life. Running parallel to this story is that of a young Dutch man who makes the long journey to his childhood home in Indonesia, taken over by the Japanese during the war. Eventually he and his family also land in Sydney, where inevitably the paths of the two men and their families cross. As does the third path of the young child abandoned during his parents' arrests. It is perhaps a little contrived with a not entirely satisfactory ending, but still compelling story telling. Not the best in the series, but still worth a read.