Larva: Midsummer Nightʼs Babel


Title: Larva: Midsummer Night’s Babel
Author: Julian Rios
Publication Date: 1983
Genre: Experimental Fiction, Postmodern Literature
Page Length: Not known


Larva: Midsummer Night’s Babel, written by Julian Rios and published in 1983, is a work of experimental fiction that falls within the realm of postmodern literature. With its intricate narrative structure and unconventional storytelling techniques, Rios challenges traditional notions of plot and character, inviting readers to explore the intricacies of language, interpretation, and the relationship between author and reader.

The novel is divided into seven sections, each interwoven with diverse characters and events that often overlap and intersect. Rios employs a fragmented narrative style, presenting various perspectives, and blurring the boundaries of time and space, to immerse readers in a literary labyrinth that requires active engagement.

Section 1, titled “Prelude,” introduces us to the character of Louise and her search for meaning in language. She encounters Rios, who invites her to join him on a quest for the lost book “Larva.” With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, Louise embarks on this linguistic adventure.

In Section 2, entitled “The Maelstrom,” the narrative shifts to different characters in Babel, a city populated by literary figures. We are introduced to the enigmatic figure of Proust who, along with his loyal companion, Saint-Anthorin, engages in discussions about language, writing, and the nature of reality.

Section 3, titled “The Pharaoh’s False Encampment,” takes us back to ancient Egypt. Here, Rios skillfully weaves together tales from Egyptian mythologies, employing intricate wordplay to challenge the notion of fixed meanings. The sections follows the adventures of Imhotep, the protagonist, as he seeks to decipher the mysterious Book of the Dead.

In Section 4, “Noble Callejeros and Veritable Zeroes,” we return to Babel, where an array of characters and events further blur the lines between reality and imagination. From conversations between literary icons like William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and James Joyce, to encounters with a host of eccentric personalities, this section explores the complexities of intertextuality and the power of storytelling.

Section 5, “Self-Canceling Symbols,” embraces the realm of dreams and hallucinations. Here, Rios delves into the subconscious, blurring the boundaries between the conscious and unconscious mind. Through a series of dreamlike encounters and linguistic puzzles, the narratives merge and diverge, challenging readers’ expectations and forcing them to confront the limitations of language and interpretation.

Section 6, “The Executioners of Light: Le rêveille-matin des mangeurs de mechoui,” centers around the character of Ramirez, a visual artist who grapples with the complexities of perception and representation. Rios employs vivid descriptions and wordplay to explore the concepts of reality, illusion, and the transformative power of art.

Finally, in Section 7, “Department of Games,” the narrative returns to Louise, who has been traversing through the different realms introduced earlier. Here, Rios challenges the reader to reflect on their experience with the novel, urging them to actively engage with the text and draw their own conclusions about its meaning.

Throughout the novel, Rios invites readers to ponder the nature of language, the power dynamics between author and reader, and the limitations of literary representation. With its innovative narrative structure and rich intertextuality, Larva: Midsummer Night’s Babel explores the complexity of human experience and the constantly shifting nature of meaning. Rios dares readers to question traditional narrative conventions and challenges their assumptions about language and interpretation, making this work an essential read for those seeking to explore the boundaries of literature and its relationship to reality.