SANTA EVITA BY TOMAS ELOY MARTINEZ

Source – second hand copy brought at book stall .

Translator -Helen Lane -she translated numerous novels in Spanish including Martinez earlier book the Peron novel ,and one I want to read when I get a copy I supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos

Tomas Eloy Martinez was born in San Miguel de Tucuman got a degree from there in Spanish and Latin American literature ,then studied in Paris ,he work in Journalism for many years ,then took to teaching at universities in America .He passed away earlier this year .This book was a choice for September shared read by richard of Carvana de Recuredos ,I had got a copy in the summer so decide to join in,

The book focus on the death and Life of Eva Peron Evita as she was known the wife of the Argentina dictator Juan Peron ,the book is told via the people who come into contact with her body as she was embalmed and put on display ,she died aged 33 after 6 years of the wife of the president .we flash from the present to the past as we find people dealing with the body and what part  Peron and the regime had played in their life ,on a couple of occasions his fellow Argentina writer Jorge Luis Borges is mention and his reaction at the time to Peron ,where he used hidden meaning in his works .in the end we find out how much the rise to power had effect this country girl .

In this novel peopled by real people by real character ,the only ones I never met were Evita and the Colonel .I saw Evita only from a distance in Tucuman , one morning on a national holiday as for Colonel Moori Koeing I found a couple of photos and a few traces of him .the newspapers of the period mention him openly and disparagingly .It took me months to meet the widow ,who lived in an austere apartment on the Calle Arenales and who agreed to see me only after putting me off time and time again .

there are clever Meta fiction touches like this scattered over the book .

I found this book a wonderfully researched and heartfelt book Martinez had lived through the regime so knew at first hand the situations described ,Like most shocking events and times it left a lasting impression on him .The veil is lifted on Eva Peron ,a name which most people know by the saccharin musical ,this book shows the dark side of the story as well as the light side .We find how power corrupts people and the effect it has on the people caught up in the corruption and abuse of power ,many thanks for Richard for picking this that may have sat on my shelf a lot longer ,if not for this reading group .

September 2010
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