Sly magic realism; if Pineda's novel imitates (and occasionally parodies) instead of breaking ground, it's still fresh territory for the author of Face (1985) and Frieze (1986): a well- crafted, always entertaining read. In Malyerba--like Macondo, a mythic town that ``progress had yet to visit''--a house is taken over by bees, a woman is crystallized into honey, a mummy-like mother-in-law floats toward Heaven, and protagonist Ana Magdalena is expelled from convent school for stripping naked while saving a classmate from drowning. She and her genteel mother try various shifts to make ends meet until the child is married off--for money--to an older, world- renowned writer who proves to have financial problems of his own. In need of cash, seeking love, sex, and adventure (mostly with a pimpish boatman), and anxious to avoid her conjugal duties--i.e., listening to her husband read from his interminable manuscript--Ana Magdalena finds her vocation. Assuming that he's too busy writing (about a character much like herself) to notice, she transforms the great man's ancestral home into a bordello. Pineda pokes fun along the way at Borges, Garc°a M†rquez, Vargas Llosa, and others. Like Ishmael Reed, she scrambles historical periods: Ana Magdalena meets Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, deluxe sound systems, and digital phones. Pineda occasionally deflates macho posturing and her happy hookers are more independent than usual, but she falls short of an assumption-reversing female vision. Masterful homage, with a touch of satiric response.