The Lime Tree Book Cover
César Aira

The Lime Tree

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.

Read an Excerpt
EBook: £5

More Info

  • 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.
Print status: Available
Author: César Aira
Translator: Chris Andrews
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback with flaps
Publication date: 7 December 2017
ISBN: 9781911508120
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508137
Number of pages: 112


New York Times Book Review

‘Aira is one of the most provocative and idiosyncratic novelists working in Spanish today, and should not be missed.’

Jane Housham
The Guardian

‘Aira writes at full tilt, going where the words take him (a style he calls “constant flight forward”) so that reading him is dizzying.’

Patricio Pron
New York Times

‘Aira’s work is varied and extensive, but The [Lime] Tree may be one of its best points of entry, affirming the existence of a Latin American literature that refuses to conform to the conventions and stereotypes of magical realism, social realism or other clichés about fiction from this part of the globe.’

Patrick Flanery
The Spectator

'Although comprised of what can seem like individually minor creations, Aira’s project is no less ambitious than Proust’s, and for those of his fans who cannot read his work in Spanish, the arrival of each new title is a bittersweet occasion. It has taken 14 years for The Lime Tree to reach us in English, and that is too long to wait. We want more, and we want it yesterday.'

Arifa Akbar
Financial 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.’

Irish Times

‘Along with a daring sense of fun, Aira has a playful imagination and the ability to spin a yarn as intricate as a spider’s web.’

Mark Doty
Los Angeles Times

‘Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald.’

Patti Smith

‘Hail César!’

Adam Thirlwell

‘César Aira is writing a gigantic, headlong, acrobatic fresco of modern life entirely made up of novelettes, novellas, novelitas. . . In other words, he is a great literary trickster, and also one of the most charming.’

Rivka Galchen

‘Aira’s works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful.’

La Nación

‘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 Gaceta

‘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?’

Arifa Akbar
Financial 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.’