All Souls, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


"All Souls" is a compelling black comedy of Oxford life by Javier Marias, whose highly-anticipated new novel "The Infatuations" is published in 2013.

This Penguin Modern Classics edition features a new Introduction by John Banville, author of "The Sea".

The pretty young tutor Clare Bayes attracts many eyes at an Oxford college dinner, not least those of a visiting Spanish lecturer (desperate to escape his conversation with an obese economist about an eighteenth-century cider tax).

As they begin an affair, meeting in hotel bedrooms away from the eyes of Clare's husband, the Spaniard finds himself increasingly drawn into the strange world of Oxford, 'one of the cities in the world where the least work gets done', in a story of lust, loneliness, vanity and memory.

Filled with brilliant set pieces and pin-sharp observation, "All Souls" is a masterpiece of black humour.




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This is an interesting little book set in Oxford "the static city preserved in syrup", where the writer spent two years in the 1980s. The first half has some terrific comic set pieces, notably an extended description of a comic dinner, and the second half is more reflective and philosophical. Very enjoyable.

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