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The Island of Missing Trees
Cover of The Island of Missing Trees
The Island of Missing Trees
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK Winner of the 2022 BookTube Silver Medal in Fiction * Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction "A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. Balm for our bruised times." —David Mitchell, author of Utopia Avenue A rich, magical new novel on belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal, from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he's searching for lost love. Years later a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited—- her only connection to her family's troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world. A moving, beautifully written, and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history, and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees is Elif Shafak's best work yet.
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK Winner of the 2022 BookTube Silver Medal in Fiction * Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction "A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. Balm for our bruised times." —David Mitchell, author of Utopia Avenue A rich, magical new novel on belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal, from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he's searching for lost love. Years later a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited—- her only connection to her family's troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world. A moving, beautifully written, and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history, and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees is Elif Shafak's best work yet.
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About the Author-
  • Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 19 books, 12 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 55 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and chosen as Blackwell's Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak has been conferred Doctor of Humane Letters by Bard College in 2021. Shafak holds a PhD in political science, and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker; she contributes to major publications around the world and she was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. elifshafak.com
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 13, 2021
    Booker-shortlisted Shafak (10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World) amazes with this resonant story of the generational trauma of the Cypriot Civil War. Just before Christmas in the late 2010s, 16-year-old Ada Kazantzakis confounds her London classmates by screaming during class. Shortly after, Ada and her botanist father, Kostas, receive a visit from Meryem, an aunt she’s never met, the older sister of her dead mother, Defne. Ada feels growing shame about the scream, and is surly toward the free-spirited Meryem, who spouts strange adages such as, “We’re not going to search for a calf under an ox.” Shafak then jumps back to 1974, when Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Defne had assignations in a taverna built around a living fig tree, which narrates part of the book and offers lessons on the human condition via anecdotes about insects and birds. Kostas’s mother, meanwhile, prompted by her disapproval of the courtship and worried over growing violence, sends him to London. Defne and Kostas are later reacquainted in the early 2000s on Cyprus, where she works searching for bodies of the disappeared. The reunion uncovers delicate secrets while expertly giving a sense of the civil war’s lingering damage, and by the end Ada’s story reaches an unexpected and satisfying destination. Shafak’s fans are in for a treat, and those new to her will be eager to discover her earlier work. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrators Daphne Kouma and Amira Ghazalla work together to create this intergenerational and multicultural story of love and loss in war-torn Cyprus. The pair represent Defne and her daughter, Ada, two women who grew up in very different environments. Kouma and Ghazalla give a dreamy feel to this novel, which is first set on an idyllic island and then moves to the urban environment of London. Kouma portrays the young Defne as she falls in love with Kostas, a man who is forbidden because he is Greek. Listeners will soak up Kouma's delivery of the figurative language that depicts the lovers' trysts beneath a watchful fig tree. Ghazalla elicits sympathy for Ada, who is trying to trace her roots. Fans of Shafak's work will fall in love all over again. M.R. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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The Island of Missing Trees
The Island of Missing Trees
A Novel
Elif Shafak
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