Gregorio is a middle-aged clerk, grey and ordinary, whose youthful aspirations for an exciting and intellectual life have faded to nothing when he gets into a phone relationship with Gil, a modest, mature man exiled in the countryside. This relationship changes everything completely, and it is through his conversations with Gil that Gregorio forges another personality for himself as Faroni, an attractive polyglot, engineer and poet, and great traveller. Gregorio is so thoroughly immersed in his own lies, however, that when Gil suddenly announces that he is finally coming to meet him, he panics completely. Alaab al-'umr al-mutaqaddim was first published in 1989 and went on to win Spain's Critics' Prize that same year, followed by the National Literature Prize in 1990, making Luis Landero one of the top names in contemporary Spanish literature.
Luis Landero was born in Albuquerque, Spain, in 1948. He has a degree in Spanish language and literature from the Complutense University, Madrid. He has worked as professor of literature at the School of Dramatic Art in Madrid and as a visiting professor at Yale University. Juegos de la edad tardia, his debut prize-winning novel, was published in 1989. Since then, Landero has been confirmed as one of the best contemporary Spanish novelists, with titles such as Knights of Fortune (1994), The Magician's Apprentice (1998) and The Guitar Player (2002). He has also published essays and numerous articles. Portrait of an Immature Man (2009) is his latest published novel.