Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Touring La Recoleta

In November, when I told the "Story Behind the Story" of my new novel The Big Wake-Up for The Rap Sheet, I explained how the book was inspired by a tour of La Recoleta Cemetery led by travel writer Robert Wright.

Robert isn't giving guided tours of the cemetery anymore, but if you are planning a trip to Buenos Aires and would still like to check out La Recoleta with the benefit of Robert's years of research into the cemetery and its inhabitants, you are in luck! Robert recently completed a guidebook for La Recoleta which you can purchase directly from his website here.

It's wonderfully produced with handsome maps, great commentary and a well-marked itinerary that takes you past 70 of the famous cemetery's most important tombs. Here's a look at a sample page:

And lest you worry the commentary leaves out any of the macabre details of the "afterlife" of Evita Peron that inspired The Big Wake-Up, let me leave you with a quote about the military leader Ossorio Arana, who is buried in a tomb with a sword-bearing female statue in front:
Ossorio Arana came into the picture when he was given custody of Eva's embalmed body. He held it in a Secret Service office not far from Recoleta Cemetery for several months (now an abandoned building at the corner of Callao and Viamonte). Arana eventually transferred Eva to others for safekeeping, and she moved all over Buenos Aires ... The last officer to have custody of Eva slept with a gun underneath his pillow, afraid that someone would enter & find the casket. One night, his pregnant wife came home late and he got scared ... scared enough that he shot and killed her by mistake.

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