The Lime Tree by César Aira

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Author:
César Aira

Translator:
Chris Andrews

Price: £8.99 (print), £5 (ebook)

Format:
B format paperback with flaps

ISBN:
9781911508120

eBook ISBN:
9781911508137

Original language:

Published by:
And Other Stories

Publication date:
7 December 2017

Seeing double rows of elegant lime trees around the main square of his hometown of Colonel Pringles, our narrator – who could well be the author himself, although nothing is guaranteed in a book by César Aira – suddenly recalls the Sunday mornings of his childhood, when his father would take him to gather the lime-flower blossoms from which he made tea.

Beginning with his father, handsome and ‘black’ and working-class, and his strikingly grotesque mother, the narrator quickly leaps from anecdote to anecdote, bringing to life his father’s dream of upward mobility, the dashing of their family’s hopes when the Peronist party fell from power, the single room they all shared, and his mother’s litany of political rants, which were used – like the lime-flower tea – to keep his father calm.

Aira’s charming fictional memoir is a colourful mosaic of a small-town neighbourhood, a playful portrait of the artist as a child and an invitation to visit the source of Aira’s own extraordinary imagination.

More information

  • You can watch César Aira talking about his love of writing in this video from the Louisiana Literature Festival, and read Aira’s US publisher, Barbara Epler of New Directions, talking about Aira’s work here in the New Yorker.
  • And Other Stories will be publishing no fewer than six of César Aira’s books between 2016 and 2020. You can read more about three more of these: The Seamstress and the Wind, The Little Buddhist Monk, and The Proof on our book pages. Watch out for the fifth book in 2019, and the sixth in 2020.

Praise for The Lime Tree

  • ‘In The Lime Tree, behind a casual tone and the circuitous routes of memory, Aira hides reflections on and images of history that construct a meaning no less true for being fleeting and unstable.’ La Nación
  • ‘In all of Aira’s vast production, The Lime Tree is our favourite kind of Aira: the subplots branch out without fracturing the trunk of the narrative. There is a strong core to The Lime Tree: how and why does a person draw up memories from the roots of childhood? What was it in the past that set us off on the line that we follow all our life and which pulls us inexorably to our present? How is it that a phrase, a sentence or a doubt can determine who we are?’ La Gaceta

Praise for César Aira

  • ‘I was quickly seduced by The Seamstress and the Wind, which takes place in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, Aira’s hometown. It figures he’d come from a place called Pringles, where funny music resounds and nothing ever happens, except everything.’ Patti Smith, The New York Times
  • ‘Bewitching and bewildering . . . Compulsively readable . . . Aira’s writing – with its equal measures of rich complications and airy whimsies – combines brevity with so many possible meanings.’ Arifa Akbar, Financial Times
  • ‘Surreal and intriguing . . . a drama is as fun as it is mystifying.’ The Guardian
  • ‘Wow. A virtuosic confection . . . Aira is the obvious heir to Jorge Luis Borges.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
  • ‘The Seamstress and the Wind is brilliantly, logically bonkers. In this excellent translation by Rosalie Knecht . . . the book is another strong addition to the impressive And Other Stories list.’ Miranda France, Times Literary Supplement
  • ‘A work of literary trigonometry. The prose bounds along with a gleeful spring in its step, dragging the improbable story behind it . . . If you’re happy to have your buttons pushed, then you’ll fall for this shaggy-dog-story-on-shrooms, and fall hard.’ Roger Cox, The Scotsman
  • ‘Funny, poetic and wonderfully readable . . . Idiosyncratic and vivacious, The Seamstress and the Wind reads more like an afternoon in the pub with a dreamy Eddie Izzard than a sit-down session exploring prose form with Eimear McBride, and is all the better for it.’ Big Issue
  • ‘It works as a piece of art whose fresh, gorgeous images carry rich meanings about the nature of transformation. But it also works as a story that makes you miss your subway stop.’ Electric Literature
  • ‘Sophisticated and energetic writing which will leave you scratching your head with curious wonder . . . I admire the sheer uncompromising audacity and verve of this novel.’ The Lonesome Reader

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