Beneath the Trees of Eden by Tim Binding - review by Jude Cook

Jude Cook

Humps in the Road

Beneath the Trees of Eden

By

Bloomsbury 432pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

Any novel that mentions the Baldock bypass on the first page is going to appeal to a certain type of reader, one who knows the A roads of Britain and the difference between a Ford Zephyr and an Austin Cambridge Mark II. Beneath the Trees of Eden is the eighth novel by veteran publisher Tim Binding. It chronicles an epic road trip that begins in 1967 and finishes sometime after the miner’s strike in 1984. Soaked in a postwar English parochialism that’s both comfortingly familiar and (to millennial eyes, perhaps) shockingly alien, the book transcends its quotidian English setting with its hallucinatory prose and characters that seem restlessly redrawn on every page.

When twenty-year-old student barmaid Alice meets straightforward Yorkshire labourer Louis, they decide to run away together. Claiming to be fifteen years older than her (it’s revealed later he’s actually forty-five at the time), Louis is a worker on the UK’s first motorways: ‘What else could he be working on, with

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