Perhaps it is because that smile wasn't what it seemed. And the era in which she reigned--for reign she did--is one of fear and uncertainty, not just in Argentina, but around the world. It is the time of Nazi Germany and Peronist Argentina. It is a time of military rule and the height of dictator furor.
|Patti LuPone as Evita, 1979|
In the fifth grade, Evita became the topic of my first school paper. I carefully read and wrote a biographical essay on the former First Lady of Argentina, replete with a profile-with-chignon rendering that my teacher remarked "wasn't called for in the instructions for this paper." (Funny how we remember the slights in life, isn't it? Perhaps this was how Evita survived--chewing on the slights until they nourished her.)
I am not Argentinean. I have no ties with the Peronists or even with the Broadway musical. But somehow this bottle-blonde Queen enticed me. She still does. Is it the mythical power that overwhelms the historical characters in Tomás Eloy Martínez's Santa Evita?
No. It's the mystery. It is! The mysteries of this life are more fascinating than the ones we make up. Hence the success of the historical novel and the nonfiction writings of Capote and Martínez. Mystery is why I write this blog. Mystery is why I scour bookshelves and online libraries. Mystery is why I watch Criminal Minds and CSI and even White Collar. Mystery is why I read art books and play Legos with my children--yes, it's present even there. Mystery is the not knowing, the wondering, the questions that fill our minds and pour out through our fingertips.
Do you have an Eva Peron? Is there an historical figure who fascinates you? Is there a mystery that enthralls?
Funnily, I hadn't thought about Evita in years. I hadn't listened to