It’s amazing that the world is so vast and that I know so little. It seems that with every book I read I learn something new and this time it’s about Evita Peron. Thankfully Eloy Martinez approaches the life of Argentina’s most famous person through her death.
The novel takes place with Evita dying and her husband wishing that her body is to be embalmed. This is where the problems start as Peron is exiled and the new regime want Evita’s body in order to bury it. This ensues a wild chase in which Evita’s corpse is constantly stolen and hidden in different locations around South America and the world. To complicate matters Evita’s embalmer made three wax copies of her and those were stolen as well.
As the author tries to find the real Evita we readers get a glimpse of his own life as well as the woman he’s hunting for. Eventually he learns that the corpse caused a lot of anguish amongst the new Argentinian government and even made some officials go insane. By the end, through a simple twist Eloy Martinez does discover the secret behind the dead body’s burial-place.
Santa Evita double up as both an autobiography and biography. It also can be seen as a meditation on death and a sort of satire on a country’s obsession with death and sainthood. As translations go it is excellent and there’s sprinkles of black humor to lighten up the morbid plot. I’m also glad that Eloy Martinez doesn’t place Evita on a pedestal nor does he reduce her to nothing – completely neutral.
As a final word, I think im edging out of my slump, so let’s see if this was just a false alarm.