David's alcoholic father, who is being pursued for political reasons, has deserted David and his attractive red-haired mother. David inhabits a fantasy world, fuelled by the films he sees at his local cinema and by images of war - Spitfires crashing into the sea, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - and by the image of an RAF pilot whose photograph is pinned on his bedroom wall. David and his friend spend their time collecting detachable lizards' tails; symbolic of the detachment and uncertainty which characterises their young lives in troubled post-war Spain. Lizard Tails was winner of the Spanish National Narrative Prize.
Juan Marse was born in Barcelona in 1933. Following the publication of his first novel in 1960 he has gone on to become one of the most respected living authors in Spain. He has been honoured with many literary prizes, including the National Narrative Prize for Lizard Tails, the European Literature Prize for Shanghai Nights and, in 2008, the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious award for Spanish-language Literature.