Just as Ezra Pound wrote a “Homage to Sextus Propertius” to pay tribute to an important influence, Julián Ríos offers in his novel a “Homage to Ezra Pound” (as the original Spanish edition is subtitled). On November 1, 1972, news of Pound’s death in Venice reaches three Spanish bohemians in London, passionate admirers of “il miglior fabbro” (“the better craftsman,” as Eliot called him), who decide to honor Pound’s memory by visiting various sites in London associated with him.
Filled with allusions to Pound’s life and works and written in a style similar to Finnegans Wake, Ríos’s word-mad novel features the same characters from his first novel Larva: the poet Milalias, his girlfriend Babelle, and their mentor X. Reis, each of whom writes part of the novel: Milalias writes the Joycean main text, Reis (as Herr Narrator) adds commentary on facing pages, and Babelle furnishes maps and photos. Together, they compile the “Parting Shots” at the end, dazzling short stories that expand upon incidents in the main text. Sound confusing? No more so than The Cantos, and Ríos is much funnier.