A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK
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.
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
“A beautiful contemplation of some of life's biggest questions about identity, history and meaning.” —Time, "Most Anticipated Books of Fall"
“A brilliant novel - one that rings with Elif Shafak's characteristic compassion for the overlooked and the under-loved, for those whom history has exiled, excluded or separated.” —Robert McFarlane, author of UNDERLAND
“An excruciatingly tender love story that transcends cultures, generations and, most remarkably, species.” —Naomi Klein, author of ON FIRE