Books of October (2013)

October is almost over and it’s time to comment on the books I read this month. I want to start this «Book of the Month» thing and try to share with you my reading experiences. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something interesting. This time I read three books – well, technically speaking I finished one and read two more.

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea

The first one is ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea’, by Jules Verne.

It’s a science fiction classic and everyone should read it. Especially those who enjoy adventures. I must say, Verne is a showoff; he knows what he’s talking about and doesn’t mind explaining to you every single detail involving the submarine, the marine species or his characters’ knowledge.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend it. It was a good read, full of adventures, intense characters and crazy situations. Also, I totally fell in love with Captain Nemo.

The Garden of Last Days

‘The Garden of Last Days’, written by Andre Dubus III, follows four days in a bunch of people’s lives a few weeks before the September 11 attacks.

It’s longer than 500 pages (the first ones containing nothing but positive comments), and I didn’t like it. I heard it was «the novel of the year», but I felt there were too many clichés and it eventually became very predictable.

But who knows? Maybe you’ll like it, if you give it a try.

Santa Evita

This month’s best book is definitely ‘Santa Evita’, by Tomás Eloy Martínez. This novel is more an investigation, than a tale. It follows the death and the embalmed corpse of Eva Perón, Argentina’s first lady, who died from cancer in 1952. I must admit, the first pages where not so thrilling, but as the investigation progressed I started to fall deeper and deeper into the mystery and tragedies that occurred to everyone who had something to do with her corpse.

Martínez starts skeptic when it comes to the superstitions surrounding Evita and ignores the many warnings he receives while digging for facts and stories. He struggles to understand Argentina’s feelings towards «That Woman», since these feelings are whether intense, devoted love for the first lady, or burning hatred, nothing in between, nothing neutral. Still, Martinez starts experiencing the many odds that Eva’s wandering cadaver had to face, he listens to the creepy stories that revolve around it, and he finds himself trapped in the strange, twisted world of Eva Perón.

From wax copies and an embalmer almost in love with his masterpiece, to dead civilians and insane soldiers, to a small group of people possessed by the enigmatic beauty of a doll who has been dead for over three years, to a writer who needs to write her or else he won’t be able to breathe, and a reader who hasn’t been able to move on to a new book, because Evita won’t let her.

It’s a novel with its ups and downs, but believe me, from the half to the end, you won’t be able to stop reading. «Where fiction ends and fact begins is one of the intriguing puzzles of this perverse and enigmatic but highly readable ‘novel’ about the afterlife of Eva Perón» (Publishers Weekly).

I really recommend it, and if you decide to read it, I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It certainly is a clear example of how reality can be way creepier than fiction.

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