At High Table in an Oxford college, the pretty, young tutor Clare Bayes attracted all eyes, not least to her fetching decolletage. No one's eyes were sharper, however, than those of the visiting Spanish lecturer, invited as a guest on this occasion, and in due course the two young people were lovers, unbeknown to Clare's husband. And if the Spaniard was at pains to cover their tracks, his beloved left evidence of adultery with gay abandon - and all this in a university that was a forcing house of gossip and intrigue, a place where 'at every word a reputation dies'. This affaire between the canny Latin and the flighty English woman forms the central thread in a brilliantly wrought tapestry of Oxford life, at once affectionate in its insight and hilarious in its ironic portrayals of Senior Common Room worthies.
Javier Marias was born in Madrid in 1951 and published his first novel at the age of nineteen. In addition to seven other novels (which have won him the Herralde de Novela and the Ciudad de Barcelona prizes, and the Spanish Critics' Award, and some of which have been translated into several languages) he has written a volume of short stories and a collection of essays. He is also a highly practised translator into Spanish of English authors, including Conrad, Stevenson, Hardy, and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States (where he was visiting professor at Wellesley College) and in Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University.