Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hours and 43 minutes
First Published: 2021
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.
About Elif Shafak
Elif Shafak is a British-Turkish novelist who writes in both Turkish and English. Her works include The Island of Missing Trees, The Forty Rules of Love, and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. Shafak has a PhD in political science and has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK. Visit the author’s website →