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 .

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 02:54:05

    So glad you enjoyed this, Stu! I got a big kick out of it myself, and then I got another kick when I read your review and saw your comment about I the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos, which I’m reading at the moment. An Eloy Martínez-like coincidence! I just started writing my post, but I like the fact that you pointed out the “heartfelt” nature of Santa Evita and its clever meta touches. The novel does a lot of things, but I agree that it really does those two things well. Eloy Martínez’ The Tango Singer should be a good follow-up to this for you, but it’s more serious and less playful than Santa Evita in my opinion. Anyway, thanks again for reading along with us on this one!


    • winstonsdad
      Sep 25, 2010 @ 13:09:49

      yes Tomas obvious been touch ,effected by Peron regime ,see he wrote another book about it ,I m looking forward to the tango singer ,and hope your enjoying I the supreme ,all the best stu


  2. amymckie
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 00:51:10

    This sounds fantastic Stu. I love the musical, so I’ll have to check this out at some point.


  3. bythefirelight
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 16:10:02

    Interesting Review. I have to read those books one day, especially since they have been on my list of to read for so long. Everything I’ve read about Martinez makes them sound interesting (


  4. Frances
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 21:24:28

    Thanks for reading with us, Stu! Sorry that with the exception of Richard we are all running a little late this time. Also really enjoyed this book and was amazed at how quickly I read it. And how much I laughed. Such a hybrid work but all levels pulled together so cleverly. And playful as Richard notes. And also enjoyed the self-deprecating insights into craft.


  5. Emily
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 01:45:53

    I second Frances’s apologies for lateness, Stu, but am yet another person who really enjoyed this one – such a great mix of humor, thoughtfulness, and, as you say, heartfelt passages. (Not to mention the great fact/fiction mashup!) I liked how Martínez made his research more visible than in most books – how he was a presence in the novel. Thanks for reading along!


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September 2010


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