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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  5 reviews
First published in Spain in 1983 and proclaimed "an instant postmodern classic, without a doubt the most disturbingly original Spanish prose of the century" (Encyclopedia Britannica 1985 Book of the Year), 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) though...more
Paperback, 602 pages
Published March 16th 1995 by Jose Corti (first published November 1984)
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Chris Amies
Big-time textuality
This book is called LARVA: Midsummer Night’s Babel, and it’s by Julian Rios. And boy is it weird. The text itself is on right-hand pages only, with footnotes (so to speak) on the left hand pages. The text and notes bounce around through several languages - English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German, Russian - making crossborderal and crossreferencing puns to severely disrail what essentially is a "Don Juan in London" story. I am not sure what the value or use of this is, but wh...more
Some books are written to tell an amazing story. Some books are written to paint amazing pictures with their prose. Some books are written to show off with word play and make the reader's brain work hard. This last group is my least favorite kind, and Larva is a perfect example. I should have taken it as a warning that one of the critics said it was inspired by Finnegan's Wake.

The story (and I use that term loosely) is about a masquerade party in an abandoned mansion in London. A Don Juan chara...more
Tony Gualtieri
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.
Apparently this has something to do with Finnegans Wake. Hmm... Sure, the wordplay, puns, and rhetorical flash are all in Larva too, but used to different purposes, to a less lyrical effect. (Ríos gives us no Anna Livia Plurabelle, though plenty of other things... none of which I'm quite sure what they are!) Instead, this takes a style that makes fun of itself and all pretensions of seriousness. There is a novel-in-a-novel on righthand pages, which is mocked on lefthand page annotations written...more

In no way can I read a novel like this once - for it to truly be appreciated , Larva has to be read at least two dozen times. Saying that this is a linguistic feast , especially if you like puns. Think of it as one long exercise in punnage. A dazzling addictive novel
This was wonderful. It's a mad story with mad language and mad structure. I'm sure Shandy was handy. And fine, again, Finnegan too, "again" because it's obvious. But Shandy's handiness too.

Obviously, I'm not as good as Rios. Heh.
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Julián Ríos (born Vigo, Galicia, 1941) is a Spanish writer, most frequently classified as a postmodernist, whom Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes has called "the most inventive and creative" of Spanish-language writers. His first two books were written à deux with Octavio Paz.

His best known work, experimental and heavily influenced by the verbal inventiveness of James Joyce, was published in 1983 un...more
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