From Publishers Weekly
As a subtitle, A Midsummer Night
's Sex Comedy would have done just as well. Ostensibly about the shenanigans of Don Juan with fairy tale figures and boot-wearing fetishists, Rios's tale is actually about words--using puns and palindromes, portmanteau and nonce words--in a flow that ignores the boundaries of language and, at times, taste, at which points it turns sophomoric. A masturbating friar is a "semenarist;" a search in the night is "seekwalking" as Rios, prolific Spanish novelist and essayist, blends and mashes words in an synergic mix of sound and meaning. Facing each page of text are notes--a scholarly device subverted in order to continue the word play. Some notes refer readers to the final section of the book, the 71 Pillow Notes which, taken together, form the tale of the misadventures of two young women (Babelle and Milalias) in London. Kudos to the translators and caveats to readers: this is fare for serious readers (with serious time) who do not take themselves too seriously.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Bawdy, funny and insightful. . . . Now and then, amid laughter and complication, the reader may suspect that Wittgenstein has been reincarnated with a baggy-pants comic's sense of humor." -- The Nation 3-11-91
"Inspired by 'Finnegans Wake' and 'Tristram Shandy', Larva is an extraordinary homage to its predecessors, and in this English version, a heroic feat of translation." -- Times Literary Supplement 5-3-91
"One of the most splendidly, cleverly innovative books since Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin with a potato in his pocket. . . . Larva is a garden or worthly delights." -- San Francisco Chronicle 1-13-91
"The adventures of a language-crazed Don Juan in a wordscape composed of Joycean puns and Lewis Carroll-like portmanteau words." -- Philadelphia Inquirer 12-23-90
"This is a precedent-breaking parade of shifting identities and kaleidoscopic word play. . . . For polygluttonous lovers of word chicanery." -- Library Journal 2-1-91