Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
Less Than Angels follows the loves, works and hopes of a group of young anthropologists.
Catherine Oliphant is a writer and lives with handsome anthropologist Tom Mallow. Their relationship runs into trouble when he begins a romance with student Deirdre Swann, so Catherine turns her attention to the reclusive anthropologist Alaric Lydgate, who has a fondness for wearing African masks. Added to this love triangle are the activities of Deirdre's fellow students and their attempts to win the competition for a research grant.
The course of true love or academia never did run smooth.