Island of Missing Trees
by Shafak, Elif






The fig tree in her parents' garden, which unbeknownst to her bore witness to their secret meetings decades ago, is her only knowledge of a home she has never known as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world. 75,000 first printing.





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.





*Starred Review* An immigrant fig tree narrates key passages in British Turkish writer Shafak's latest imaginative, provocative, witty, and profound novel. We first meet the philosophical Ficus carica as she is being buried in a garden in England to protect her from the coming winter. This hibernation inspires her to reflect on her long, keenly observant life on the island of Cyprus as the arboreal guardian of a popular taverna named The Happy Fig in her honor. There she witnessed the forbidden love between two teenagers-Kostas, Greek and nature-enthralled, and brainy and Turkish Defne-and the civil war that so cruelly separated them. Decades later in England, Kostas, a prominent ecologist and botanist, is mourning forensic archaeologist Defne and trying to care for their skeptical 16-year-old daughter, Ada. Help and comic relief arrive with Ada's proverb-spouting aunt, Meryem. As the full, heartbreaking tale of Kostas and Defne flowers in flashbacks, Shafak, alternating between bracing matter-of-factness and glorious metaphorical descriptions, casts light on the atrocities of ethnic violence, the valor of those who search for and excavate mass graves, the inheritance of trauma, and the wonders of trees and nature's interconnectivity. With Defne focused on death, Kostas on life, Meryem on the supernatural, Ada on facts and reason, and the fig tree's wisdom, Shafak propagates an enthralling, historically revelatory, ecologically radiant, and emotionally lush tale of loss and renewal. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* An immigrant fig tree narrates key passages in British Turkish writer Shafak's latest imaginative, provocative, witty, and profound novel. We first meet the philosophical Ficus carica as she is being buried in a garden in England to protect her from the coming winter. This hibernation inspires her to reflect on her long, keenly observant life on the island of Cyprus as the arboreal guardian of a popular taverna named The Happy Fig in her honor. There she witnessed the forbidden love between two teenagers-Kostas, Greek and nature-enthralled, and brainy and Turkish Defne-and the civil war that so cruelly separated them. Decades later in England, Kostas, a prominent ecologist and botanist, is mourning forensic archaeologist Defne and trying to care for their skeptical 16-year-old daughter, Ada. Help and comic relief arrive with Ada's proverb-spouting aunt, Meryem. As the full, heartbreaking tale of Kostas and Defne flowers in flashbacks, Shafak, alternating between bracing matter-of-factness and glorious metaphorical descriptions, casts light on the atrocities of ethnic violence, the valor of those who search for and excavate mass graves, the inheritance of trauma, and the wonders of trees and nature's interconnectivity. With Defne focused on death, Kostas on life, Meryem on the supernatural, Ada on facts and reason, and the fig tree's wisdom, Shafak propagates an enthralling, historically revelatory, ecologically radiant, and emotionally lush tale of loss and renewal. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





Following the travails of one fictional family from late-20th-century Cyprus to present-day London, Shafak explores the physical, psychological, and moral cost of the long conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island's citizens and their environment. Shafak, whose previous novels have ranged from realistic political and domestic drama to fanciful interpretations of Muslim spirituality and mysticism, here exhibits her passion for an endangered natural world that possesses wisdom the human world lacks. While the novel is framed around London high school student Ada's attempts to learn about her parents' past on Cyprus and what drove them to emigrate, much of the novel is narrated by a fig tree. The loquacious, well-traveled tree fills in parts of the plot unknown to the human protagonists and offers rambling treatises on Cyprian history, plants, and animals. Ada's father, evolutionary ecologist Kostas, has tended the fig tree lovingly in his London backyard since bringing a shoot with him to plant when he and his pregnant wife, Defne, left Cyprus more than 16 years ago. Back in the 1970s, Greek Orthodox Kosta and Turkish Muslim Defne had carried on an adolescent Romeo-and-Juliet romance until civil war separated them. When they reunited in the early 2000s, Defne left Cyprus with Kostas knowing her family would never forgive her. They didn't. That loss and guilt over deaths she may inadvertently have caused plague Defne for the rest of her life, so she and Kostas decide never to burden Ada with knowledge of that past. Now, a year after Defne's death, a still-grieving Ada erupts with anger at her parents' silence surrounding their earlier lives. Then Defne's long-estranged sister Meryam visits from Cyprus and truths emerge about the hardships, violence, betrayals, and impossible choices faced not only by Defne and Kostas, but all of Cyprus for generations. Ambitious, thought-provoking, and poignant. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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