Larva : midsummer night's Babel

by Julián Ríos

Other authorsRichard Alan Francis (Translator)
Hardcover, 1990





Elmwood Park, IL, USA : Dalkey Archive Press, 1990.


A striking reassessment of the Don Juan myth. A literary tour de force, this extraordinary novel is told in single-minded pursuit of double meanings, but it is serious play. Larva is a rollicking account of a masquerade party in an abandoned mansion in London. Milalias (disguised as Don Juan) searches for Babelle (as Sleeping Beauty) through a linguistic funhouse of puns and wordplay recalling Joyce's Finnegans Wake. A mock-scholarly commentary reveals the backgrounds of the masked revellers, while Rios' allusive language shows that words too wear masks, hiding an astonishing range of further meanings and implications. Larva revives a Hispanic tradition repressed for centuries by introducing the English tradition of puns, palindromes and acrostics (a word puzzle in which certain letters in each line form a word or words) and establishes Rios as the most accomplished successor (in any language) to Joyce.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member le.vert.galant
A wild linguistic ride. Reminiscent of Joyce with inventive puns and other wordplay overwhelming a story of a modern Don Juan in London. Really there's not much story and with the footnotes and other distractions, that's just fine. It's a book that is more about the path than the destination. Enjoy it for its surface and its fantastic picture of London.… (more)


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