The Linden Tree (Paperback)
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811219082, 128pp.
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
The Linden Tree was written in 2003. In it the narrator, who could be Aira himself (born the same year, in the same place, a writer who is now also living PBK in Buenos Aires) revisits down his childhood memories. Beginning with an enigmatically beautiful black father who gathered linden flowers to make a sleep-inducing tea, and continuing on to an irrational and physically deformed mother of European descent, the narrator also catalogs his best childhood friends and the many gossiping neighbors. Aira creates a colorful mosaic of an epoch in Argentina when the poor, under the guiding hand of Eva Peron, aspired to a newfound middle class. Moving from anecdote to anecdote, alternating between the touching, amusing, and sometimes surreal, we are comforted by the fact that for Aira "everything is allegory."
This is a charming novella--evocative, reflexive, amusing, intelligent--that invites the reader to look further into Aira's great body of work.