Caroline, 27, walks out of a marriage and into an old people’s home where she meets cantankerous, lusty octogenarian Billy, who entrusts a secret to her. She goes from his deathbed to a wedding, where she is seduced by a beautiful man who tells her stories of her ex’s antics back home. Bright, buoyant Bonnie, meanwhile, installs herself as Caroline’s new best friend and accompanies her to a picnic that turns into a riot. When it is over, the world’s altered: for Caroline is no longer herself – she must flee being Caroline. We follow her long flight through trauma, fakery and captivity to redemption.
Jim Lewis’s tale of how to measure love and its loss is a swooningly observant and atmospheric tale of rare resonance. Lewis writes about sex, ageing, identity and bereavement with such newness and rightness that his reader is struck dumb.
Reviews of Why the Tree Loves the Axe
- ‘Lewis’s imagery is startling, rich and strange’Time Out
- ‘Lewis starts with wonder and insistently works at it to produce a delicious intensity that is full of the transforming passion and unreality of being in the world.’New Statesman
- ‘Jim Lewis is an accomplished and erudite writer who wears these qualities lightly, making sure they dazzle and amuse rather than bewilder and confuse. His America is voluptuous and surreal’Erica Wagner, The Times
- ‘Why the Tree Loves the Axe has the makings of a masterpiece.’Dale Peck
- ‘Comes on like a speedball, a euphoric rush of language and image. This is the real thing. This is real.’Larry Clark, director of Kids