Slave to love (La esclava instruida) received the XVI award La Sonrisa Vertical (The Vertical Smile) February the third in 1992. The jury consisted of Luis G. Berlanga, director of this collection, Juan García Hortelano, Charo López, Ricardo Muñoz Suay, Almudena Grandes, Juan Marsé and Beatriz de Moura, representing the publishing house. José María Álvarez is a poet who, in a certain way, justifies his late flirts in erotic narrative with a brilliant declaration of principles which the reader will find on the first page of Slave to love: At this point of the story and of our scorched memory, comments the narrator, the only thing worthwhile doing is pestering and listening to opera. This could also be the best definition of what a novel is. A fully grown man, refined, idle and learned, one day suddenly finds out that the teenage girl who swims in the swimming pool of his house, because she is the daughter of his and his wife’s close friends, has ceased being a girl to become the unexpected object of desire. Thus, an erotic relationship begins, which by dint of being hidden, will go on growing during four years within the walls of the most absolute secrecy. The mature man, in this prolonged and savored possession of the body of the provocative and precocious young girl, gradually transmits her, at the same time the knowledge of her own sexuality, the pleasure he derives from his long and exotic travels, the memories of other women and of his unconditional love of opera. Thus, between the lewd violence of the mutual and sustained sexual attraction and the joyous pleasures of the spirit, this unusual couple , under the shadow of the most exciting of secrets, manages to keep forever alive the flame of their frenetic complicity. And with it that of the reader, who, just the same as these enviable lovers, will also doubly enjoy: as indiscreet voyeur of their imaginative erotic games which, in fact, are destined to them, as taster of good reading.