Tuesday, 21 September 2021

The Island of Missing Trees

Details of the Book

No. of Pages: 368 pages

Language: English 

What I think

Elif Shafak’s The Island of Missing Trees holds an element of antiquity in its words. It lets the readers absorb the people’s pain, love, loss, scars and their ability to heal. Also, it reminds us to look around and observe the nature – from the bats to butterflies to songbirds to honeybees to trees to anything and everything that makes this universe what it is. It nudges us to look beyond humans through the eyes of human beings and The Fig tree. I personally loved to read what the fig tree had to say – about ants, rats and even carob tree and eucalyptus. Overall, The Island of Missing Trees is not just a love story of Kostas and Defne. It is also not Ada’s inquisitiveness or the melancholy. It is about what wars could do to people and nature. It is about how meaningless these wars could be in the grander scheme of things.


Elif Shafak brings a unique rhythm to her words, they always resonate with us. No matter how unimaginable the times or circumstances, they simply connect with us. They only reaffirm that we humans are still connected with love and grief. These two together would always pull the right strings in our hearts.

It is a pleasure to see that the book also touches various key topics like LGBT, depression and agony generated by sheer helplessness due to uncontrollable situations. There is a subtle air of feminism and what patriarchy has done to women around the world. It is also filled with words of wisdom and gives a glimpse of various superstitions and legends that meanders among the islanders in Cyprus among Greeks and Turks equally.

The Island of Missing Trees is no less a marvel than any of her previous book. It is an assured page turner. There is so much to learn also – about history, nature, trees, birds and what not. Don’t miss the experience! I almost felt like visited those places and met those people personally!


5/5 (I just insanely adore this one!)

From the book blurb

Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. The taverna is the only place that Kostas and Defne can meet in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic and chilli peppers, creeping honeysuckle, and in the centre, growing through a cavity in the roof, a fig tree. The fig tree witnesses their hushed, happy meetings; their silent, surreptitious departures. The fig tree is there, too, when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns - a botanist, looking for native species - looking, really, for Defne. The two lovers return to the taverna to take a clipping from the fig tree and smuggle it into their suitcase, bound for London. Years later, the fig tree in the garden is their daughter Ada's only knowledge of a home she has never visited, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets and silence and find her place in the world.

The Island of Missing Trees is a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal. 


Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She has published 19 books, 12 of which are novels. She is a bestselling author in many countries around the world and her work has been translated into 55 languages. An advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of expression, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker.

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