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Larva: A Midsummer Night's Babel
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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.
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