Author: David Jimenez Torres (Clare 2008)
Publisher: Entre Ambos
David Jimenez Torres's second novel is also the first by a Spanish author to be set in Cambridge.
The plot follows the lives of four postgraduate students from different countries -Spain, Mexico, the US and the UK- and disciplines -English, Biochemistry, History, Economics- who meet by chance one evening in the early 2010s. Despite their many differences, it will soon become clear that they share similar questions about their professional futures and the life-choices they are forcing upon them. Their conversations will highlight the precarious and often maddening nature of contemporary academia but they will also quickly transcend this framework, giving the lie to the idea that they exist in any kind of 'bubble', even if they at times come to wish they actually did.
Over the following week it will become clear that the protagonists' individual trajectories are enmeshed in some of the great questions of our time: what is the place of the university in contemporary Western societies, what is the purpose of pursuing knowledge and what are its effects on those who do, how should we react to violence or injustice, what role can art and literature play in today's world, etc. But the four protagonists will also turn to each other for help with more timeless concerns: loneliness, frustration, and the search for individual purpose.
Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, Peter William Evans has called this novel "a fluently written, often figuratively inventive, addition to the campus genre". The novel has attracted much attention in Spain, with numerous reviews appearing both in literary magazines and generalist media.