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Eva Peron: Fact vs Fiction

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Eva Peron: Fact vs Fiction

Postby Helen_Davis » Wed October 1st, 2014, 10:59 pm

Hi. I've written this to explain what was fact and what was fiction in my self pubbed novel about Eva Peron and would appreciate some feedback.

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction

Eva Peron was born out of wedlock, left her hometown to become an actress, married Juan Peron, became First Lady, toured Europe, started a foundation for the poor, ran an unsuccessful bid for Vice President and died tragically young at the height of her power, of cancer, at the age of 33. These are the bare bones of the story and the only facts about which both her admirers and detractors agree upon.

Eva Peron was fascinating yet frustrating to research and write about- because outside of this basic outline of her life, almost no source agrees. Madonna once stated that finding out that there was no middle ground on an opinion of Evita and desired to know the truth. I actually agree with Madonna and thus began my own similar quest to discover the ‘real’ Evita.

Eva’s childhood is shrouded in mystery. We do know for a fact she was the final child born to Juan Duarte and Juana Ibarguren, that her parents were not married and that her father died when she was seven. The incident with the doll has been recorded in several biographies of her as well as her family’s own account of Eva’s life, Mi Hermana Evita, a sentimental memoir written by Eva’s closest sister, Erminda. The incident with the burning in Chapter One has only been cited in Martinez’s novel Santa Evita, and I have not found it in any other source. However, I chose to include it evoke a sense of sympathy for Eva. It’s known she was close to her brother Juan and sister Erminda. However, we do not know much about her schooling days or her childhood so I have had to recreate the first two chapters of Evita: My Life almost from scratch.

Eva’s acting career is also shrouded in mystery. Eva did this on purpose since when she became First Lady since she considered her past career beneath her new position. Still, there was more to go by here and more facts to stick to than her childhood. For Eva’s acting days and Chapters Three through Five , I am indebted to El Aljadrez de la Gloria: Evita Duarte Actriz for the photos and titles of her plays and films that do survive. The names of the companies and producers Eva worked for are known, however, the liasions she must have had with her boyfriends before Emilio Kartulowicz are not. Thus, Miguel Gonzalez is fictional, however, I have recreated him from a kind Ecuadorian man I dated from the years 2005 to 2010 who encouraged me to research Evita, much as Miguel encouraged Eva to continue as an actress.
In the 1940s it is unknown why Eva quit working. The official reason was as stated in my novel- that she had not been offered a role worth of her. However many theories abound, the most unforgiving (and also the most unlikely) that she was a Nazi spy at this time. However, while Peron did sympathize with Nazis in his reign, Eva was unknown at this time as an actress, let alone as a spy. Also, at this time, Eva’s ambitions were not political but purely artistic. I have invented the tale of a miscarriage since I found some references to Eva having miscarriages in Dujone Ortiz’s biography. However, we truly do not know where Eva disappeared to during this time. Her official explanation is as good as anything else.

It is true Eva moved in with Peron practically from day one, and that she packed out his teenage mistress .However, the exact details are unknown. Peron is said to have claimed Eva moved in gradually whereas Eva said she moved in all at once. I have chosen to present Eva’s version since the novel is told from her perspective, however, in this case Peron is the one who is likely closer to the truth.

Peron’s rise to power is well-documented, and it is here that Eva begins to emerge as a political figure in her own right in spite of the fact that she did very little to aid him in this aspect. That’s right, Eva did nothing that October 17th, but both Peronist and anti Peronist mythology have either portrayed her as a loyal wife who trusted fate or as a rabble rouser that ended Argentina’s prosperity. In reality Eva was nearly as hated as Peron and did hide out during this time.
Eva’s Rainbow Tour is well documented, as well as her friendship with Liliane Guardo. She was well received in Spain and I have tried to remain as true as I could to what most biographies stated about her relationship with the Francos. While Franco and Peron shared similar political statements, he and Peron were not exactly the best of friends, as is often the case with political alliances. Mrs. Franco was also the exact opposite of Evita and often relationships like this either go very well or very poorly. I’ve known two women in my life who were stay at home moms—one is one of my absolute best friends and the other will not even speak to me now. Eva and Mrs. Franco obviously fell into the latter category. There could not be two women more different in spite of their shared Hispanic heritage.

Eva was not well received in Italy or France. In Italy she was painted often as a communist and a whore. Keep in mind, though, Italy had just emerged from World War Two and the Italians equated Peron with Mussolini. Peron did indeed borrow much from Mussolini. Eva was not hated in France, but they were disinterested in her. Most of the things I have had take place in Eva’s sojourn in France did occur.

However, I could not resist a chance to recreate post World War Two France or name many figures from this time period, namely Charles DeGaulle and the fictional scene of Evita with Madame DeGaulle. Indeed, this was almost a premonition on my part for not long after I finished Evita I began to become as intrigued by the French culture as a woman in her mid 20s as I had by the Hispanic one in my teens. It’s known Eva was well treated by Georges Bidault and his wife. It’s not known if she met Charles DeGaulle, however, the scene between Charles DeGaulle and Madame DeGaulle was too irresistible as a novelist for me not to include.
Eva’s return to Argentina is well documented however, many biographies have not included her sojourn in Brazil and Uruguay. This is where being a novelist I had great freedom. It is true that in Uruguay she was not well received—many of her enemies there found her too close for comfort. In Brazil she truly did listen to George Marshall speak.

Eva never met Eleanor Roosevelt. However, once more I could not resist creating a meeting between these two great ladies, nor creating this tribute to a woman who made such a great impact on my own beloved country. The two of them would have liked each other I believe since both were champions of women and the downtrodden. Indeed, when Eva died, Eleanor is said to have stated ‘she was as beautiful as she was brave.’ Perhaps Eva and Eleanor had a secret meeting somewhere? We’ll never know.

Eva’s slide into illness is well documented, almost too much so. However, it’s not known how Peron truly treated her. Many unsympathetic accounts portray Peron as abandoning her. While I wrote this as a ‘memoir’ of Eva, many of Peron’s actions do indicate that her detractors are closer to the truth that her admirers on this. It’s known he did have a mistress, Nelly Rivas, not long after Eva’s death. However, we don’t know if Eva knew about it. Happily, though, Peron was at her bedside when she died and I imagine the two did get to say good bye to each other. Peron did have a kind side.

What happened after Eva’s death was almost as remarkable as her life. But for that I recommend either the biography Evita: The Real life of Eva Peron, or Tomas Eloy Martinez’s Santa Evita, since I chose to tell the stor of Eva’s life and not her afterlife. However, to summarize, Peron’s rule ended in an overthrow in 1955 and in the meantime Eva’s corpse, which was remarkably well preserved, was removed from Argentina and hidden all over the world. In the meantime, various governments tried various strategies to reclaim Argentina’s lost splendors and while some enjoyed success, around the 1960s, the very people who had so hated Peron began clamoring for his return.

By now, Peron had remarried. His third wife, Isabel Peron, had a background similar to Eva’s, in that she grew up poor, had her father die when she was young, and she became a dancer. Isabel , however, lacked Eva’s drive and charisma and was more of a companion and friend to Peron than a partner. She moved with him across the Caribbean and to Spain and in the meantime made trips back to Argentina to make speeches on her husband’s behalf. In 1973, Peron final returned to Argentina and became president a third time, but died of a heart attack the next year. Isabel Peron became President of Argentina, the first woman to rule a nation in the Western hemisphere.

Sadly, Isabel’s reign was a disaster and she was overthrown in 1976. Before her overthrow, she had Eva’s corpse returned to Argentina after a long sojourn in Italy, where it had been hidden under a false name. Eva was buried in the Recoleta, an illustrious cemetery for the Argentine elites. Her “neighbors” in death are the very oligarchs she so hated and who so hated her.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com


"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."
Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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wendy
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
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Postby wendy » Thu October 2nd, 2014, 1:09 pm

Helen, this is a really interesting post, especially as it raises an issue that often comes up in my book club. Some readers love to know what is "real" and what the author has "invented," and enjoy books that add end-notes to explain. As a writer myself though, I don't wish to do this (although I do give some big hints on my website).
What do other readers think?
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)
http://www.wendyperriman.com
http://www.FireOnDarkWater.com

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Sun October 19th, 2014, 2:04 am

"wendy" wrote:Helen, this is a really interesting post, especially as it raises an issue that often comes up in my book club. Some readers love to know what is "real" and what the author has "invented," and enjoy books that add end-notes to explain. As a writer myself though, I don't wish to do this (although I do give some big hints on my website).
What do other readers think?


Well speaking as a reader I always found those helpful. And interesting.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com





"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."

Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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DianeL
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Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
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Postby DianeL » Mon October 20th, 2014, 9:25 pm

Wendy, I like them - and created one for "The Ax and the Vase" along the way as I wrote the MS. I figure, if anyone isn't interested, they can ignore it, but if they're curious it's there. What I've included is NOT a bibliography, and does not include sources; it is a gloss-style series of notes on characters, relationships, and so on relevant to the period and the plot. Its intro is excerpted on the main page of my blog, and I recently ran a series sharing the entries themselves.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

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The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.
---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

***

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Wed October 29th, 2014, 10:21 pm

"DianeL" wrote:Wendy, I like them - and created one for "The Ax and the Vase" along the way as I wrote the MS. I figure, if anyone isn't interested, they can ignore it, but if they're curious it's there. What I've included is NOT a bibliography, and does not include sources; it is a gloss-style series of notes on characters, relationships, and so on relevant to the period and the plot. Its intro is excerpted on the main page of my blog, and I recently ran a series sharing the entries themselves.


Diane, those are my thoughts too. I did include a bibliography in my novel since I know with someone such as Eva Peron, my work could be controversial and I wanted to show all the research I had done and to show I had used sources both for and against her and I figured also if my novel had piqued curiosity, they could also read some other sources.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com





"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."

Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

Carla
Compulsive Reader
Contact:

Postby Carla » Thu October 30th, 2014, 1:40 pm

I generally find author's notes very helpful and interesting, and it's actually one of the first things I look for in a historical novel. I like to know a bit about the underlying history, especially if it's a period I'm not familiar with, and it also gives the author somewhere to mention major things they invented or decided to change. Anyone who isn't interested doesn't have to read it.

Helen, I really like your note for your novel. It's clear and informative without being massively long. I know almost nothing about Eva Peron, so this is just the sort of thing I would hope to find in a novel about her.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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DianeL
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Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
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Postby DianeL » Thu October 30th, 2014, 11:54 pm

Helen, I have to laugh at myself and admit I am too disorganized to have really noted what research I found where, and the rather prolonged gestation of "The Ax and the Vase" means I'd never be able to reconstruct it to defend it! :) But as a reader, I'd love what you're doing in support of your own work, I'm a bit of a nerd for creative backstory and the context of history too!
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"



***



The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.

---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers



***



http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/

I'm a Twit: @DianeLMajor


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