cover image Senora Honeycomb

Senora Honeycomb

Fanny Buitrago. HarperCollins Publishers, $18 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017365-4

With boisterous, earthy humor and almost tactile prose, Colombian novelist Buitrago tells a bawdy fairy tale about a woman's sexual awakening. At the story's center is Teodora Vencejos, a young heiress blinded by her love for the scoundrel Don Galaor Ucros-whom she ultimately marries, despite his habit of pursuing romantic affairs right before her eyes. When Galaor fritters away all of her money, Teodora must move from her home village on Colombia's Caribbean coast to Madrid, where she takes a job with Dr. Amiel, a highly successful provisioner of sexually ``stimulating foodstuffs.'' Buitrago has great fun describing Amiel's culinary concoctions (e.g., ``The ingredients, cleverly arranged, formed a voluptuous, brazen nymph whose breasts were two large jugs filled with prawns and oysters au vin.... Guests at the stag party for a publisher of feminist literature would wolf it down to the last bite.'' Dr. Amiel keeps Teodora busy not only with fun in the kitchen but also with constant demands for sex and earnest proclamations of his love for her. Still, Teodora pines for Galaor; when she finally returns to her village only to discover her husband fat, unattractive and in bed with her rival, she falls into a deep sleep that can't be broken except by ``a passionate kiss''-an awakening that reveals a feminist twist. If the nonlinear narrative is distracting, playful and mildly adventurous readers should enjoy surrendering their demands for order as they succumb to the big-hearted pleasures of this sensuous divertissement. U.K. and first serial and translation rights in Spain and Mexico: HarperCollins; dramatic and translation rights (excluding Spanish in Spain and Mexico): Camilo Calderone. (Feb.)