Anne Enright's novels What Are You Like? and The Wig My Father Wore have established her as a stunning young writer of international caliber. This award-winning author now delivers an astonishing, rich tour de force based on the life of a woman truly larger than life: Eliza Lynch, the nineteenth-century Irishwoman who became Paraguay's Eva Peron. Beautiful, sophisticated, and adventurous, Eliza Lynch met Francisco Solano Lopez in Paris when she was nineteen and he was in Europe to recruit engineers for the first railroad in South America. He left for Paraguay several months later with a pregnant Eliza beside him. Reviled by Asuncion society and her lover's family, Eliza built herself a fine house, constructed a national theater for Paraguay, and had her son baptized, although he was a bastard. In less than a decade, Lopez became dictator of the nation and plunged Paraguay into a conflict that would kill over half its population. By then Eliza had become notorious -- as both the angel of the battlefield, inspiring the troops, and the demon driving Lopez's ambition. At one time the richest woman in the world, she was said to lead the retreat of the army in a black coach followed by carriages conveying her enormous wardrobe of Paris gowns. When Lopez was killed by the Brazilian army, she buried him in a shallow grave dug with her own hands. Anne Enright has written a gorgeous, deeply resonant novel about this extraordinary woman, following the arc of a life from the joyous sting of meeting Lopez, to burying him alone in a Paraguayan Golgotha. It is a novel of epic love and epic destruction, and an accomplishment that brings Anne Enright's immense talent to full flower.
Literature-Fiction, British, Contemporary,