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The Island of Missing Trees
The Island of Missing Trees | Elif Shafak
126 posts | 118 read | 3 reading | 93 to read
A rich, magical new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World - available for pre-order now 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, from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World. 'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi 'Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann
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review
TracyReadsBooks
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Mehso-so

Me and not the book? Hmm. Told from multiple POVs—including one that was so annoying I had to skip those chapters—this book about human connection, conflict, borders & the ways we cross/do not cross them, & trauma is occasionally lyrical & sometimes even profound but…BUT…ultimately it didn‘t quite connect for me. I‘ve read several books by Shafak that I really enjoyed & while I really liked sections of this one, on the whole it didn‘t work for me.

BirdLaVie I struggled to get into this one too! Loved the premise and idea, but couldn‘t get into it. 1mo
33 likes1 comment
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TracyReadsBooks
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“Cartography is another name for stories told by winners.”

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TracyReadsBooks
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Started reading this one last night and so far I‘m really enjoying it. The author is using a device I don‘t love but 🤞 it doesn‘t become too annoying and/or distracting.

marleed I loved this story! 1mo
29 likes1 comment
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julieclair
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My favorite book of September was The Island of Missing Trees, which I read with my IRL book club.
#12Booksof2023 @Andrew65

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perfectlywinged
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It‘s fig season and I‘m reading this multi generational family story partially narrated by a fig tree.

Suet624 Wow, living in a place that has figs... such bounty! 6mo
perfectlywinged My Trader Joe‘s has them in this week. Here in the Midwest we only get fresh figs in stores for a very brief time so I gorge myself. 6mo
13 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Jolynne
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Pickpick

I liked how the author looked at generational trauma, colonialism, and the LIFE and beauty off the natural world. What a fine ending too.

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VanessaCW
Pickpick

A story of forbidden love between a Greek boy and a Turkish girl and the fig tree which bears witness to their romance during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the 1970s. I thought this was a lovely story and I loved that the fig tree had its own voice. It added a bit of quirkiness. It‘s lyrically and beautifully written. A story of love, loss, grief and ultimately hope. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Pedrocamacho
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Pickpick

This is a wonderful book about love, loss, and family trauma. I love the chapters written from the perspective of a particular fig tree 🙂

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mackelie
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Mehso-so

I quite struggled to finish this book, even though, I was intrigued by the premise. I found it quite long winded and dragging but the writing was beautiful. I have also learned a lot about Cyprus and the civil unrest there.

Kostas, who is Greek, and Dafne, who is Turkish fall in love when they are not supposed to due to their ethnic backgrounds. The story is also partly narrated by a fig tree.

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mackelie

“Because in real life, unlike in history books, stories come to us not in their entirety but in bits and pieces, broken segments and partial echoes, a full sentence here, a fragment there, a clue hidden in between. In life, unlike in books, we have to weave our stories out of threads as fine as the gossamer veins that run through a butterfly‘s wings.”

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rwmg
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Pickpick

One island, two couples (one couple doomed to die, one couple separated and re-united after 25 years), and a tree acting as chorus.

The story was OK, but the snippets of information about trees were actually far more interesting and what push it up into a Pick.

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rwmg
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rwmg
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Maria514626
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It took me a bit to get into this. I didn‘t think I could bear with one of the narrators (the only one)? And the melancholy!

Now I‘m finding this quiet and at times, beautiful. The narrator that was bugging me? Wise.

Tamra The fig tree? 😆 I‘m loving it! 12mo
TheBookHippie Checking in! Not seen you post in a while! Hope all is well! 9mo
35 likes2 comments
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LadyCait84
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Pickpick

It was a stroke of genius to have this story of love, trauma, promises, and growth — set mostly against a backdrop of civil unrest (building to war) on the island of Cyprus — partially narrated by a sentient fig tree.

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Kristin_Reads
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Pickpick

📖 11-19-22 || This is an interesting story set on Cyprus with a fig tree as narrator. I would‘ve preferred the story be told in a more linear approach, rather than skipping around different times and perspectives. I wanted to know more about Yusuf and Yiorgis. I do feel like I learned a bit about the history of Cyprus and the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, though…

58 likes3 stack adds
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Curvybookgirl
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Panpan

I really wanted to love this book but it did nothing for me at all. It‘s a book club read so I‘ll be interested to hear what others thought

TheEllieMo I also read it for my book club, on balance we didn‘t hate it, but it wasn‘t one we really enjoyed, either. Felt like Shafak wanted to let us know how much she knows about Cyprus. 1y
Curvybookgirl I agree 1y
17 likes1 stack add2 comments
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YasmiNova
Pickpick

If I could give it more than a Pick, I would. Having grown up in Cyprus, I was expecting it to speak to me personally and culturally. What stunned me was the sheer beauty of Shafak's words when she describes all the pain, animosity and destruction; how she keeps humanity's best traits - love, hope, empathy - alive under the rubbles of human folly. This book made me cry, laugh (especially Meryem's oh so Mediterranean proverbs), but above all, hope.

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Cortg
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Pickpick

I loved this story! The writing is wonderful, I loved reading about Cypress, the characters were great, each with their own baggage trying to move forward, and beautiful insights about the island, trees, animals, birds, and humans from a tree‘s perspective; brilliant! A truly delightful read.

47 likes1 stack add
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YasmiNova
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It's silly o'clock over here but I simply cannot wait to get started on this one! 🤓

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ncsufoxes
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Pickpick

Such a lovely and unique book told by the view point of several different characters, one being a fig tree. It‘s a story about love & loss over many different generations. I thought that the author brought up some interesting views on intergenerational loss and coping with things such as civil wars (in this case Cyprus). As how generations in the past want to bury and forget what happened whereas younger generations want to confront the past.

ncsufoxes I really enjoyed the research the author did about trees and the environment. It was fascinating book. #bookspin book #litsylovereads (edited) 1y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Sounds good!! 1y
22 likes3 comments
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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Pickpick

Day 4 of COVID and starting to finish some books.

This was gorgeous. I loved the setting of Cyprus and the history woven through, the chapters told by the tree gave the book a magical realism quality that fit perfectly into the weaving of the multigenerational story. Normally I am not a fan of back and forth timelines but Shafak does this seamlessly and I was so engrossed in the story I finished in a day.

IuliaC Lovely review! I've got this one stacked too 1y
ChaoticMissAdventures @IuliaC it sat on my shelf for months and months! So many books to read. 1y
IuliaC @ChaoticMissAdventures I know, too many! 😊 1y
30 likes1 stack add3 comments
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ChantalReads
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Pickpick

This book starts off really slowly, and I almost gave up, but I'm glad I didn't. The story is deep and touching, and the story's shifting of perspectives is creative, though I found myself rushing through Fig Tree's parts, as a lot of it is technical botany and didn't always seem connected to the rest of the story. This fades as the story progresses, and the very last chapter brought some needed, satisfying closure.

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NovelNancyM
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Pickpick

This is my fourth book of Shafak's. While the writing is as beautiful as the other books, what made this novel so interesting is many of the chapters are told from the point of view of a fig tree who provides much background as well as an outlet for the humans to express their feelings. Much research went into this & I enjoyed learning about the island of Cyprus & its tumultuous history. Not my favorite novel of the authors but glad I read it.

Hanna-B I didn‘t enjoy it 1y
44 likes1 comment
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charl08
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The Sentence
The Mirror and the Palette
The Island of Missing Trees
The Book of Form and Emptiness
Small Things Like These
The Trees
Devil in the Grove
In Memory after Memory
Kim JiYoung Born 1982
Horse
After Sappho

#LittensWanttoKnow

Sophronisba Definitely Trust and probably The Marriage Portrait -- I'm not done yet but it's just perfect so far. 1y
charl08 @Sophronisba sounds good! 1y
45 likes2 comments
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TheEllieMo
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Mehso-so

If the evidence of this novel is anything to go by, fig trees make very poor narrators.

I felt disappointed with this book as it doesn‘t seem to know what it wants to achieve. Too many narrative lines fizzle out before they get anywhere. There‘s a nice love story against the back drop of civil war, but it‘s getting lost in the author‘s need to show us how much knowledge she has.

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Viji
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I reminded myself that life was not a trade agreement, a calculated give-and-take, and not every affection needed to be returned in kind…

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thereflectiveflaneur
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Pickpick

Simply stunning! So many quotable moments! Brilliant prose! Awesome audiobook also!

9 likes1 stack add
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MysticFaerie
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Pickpick

4⭐/5⭐

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AllDebooks
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Pickpick

This is a truly memorable novel. The descriptions of Cypriot nature, amidst the turmoil of 1974 clashes between Turkish and Greek Cypriots are poignant. The pov of the fig tree as a witness to all that unfolds is very powerful.
Highly recommended

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AllDebooks
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1. Tagged, which is magical as well as moving. Braiding Sweetgrass, A honeybee heart has 5 openings
2. Yes, I love green, it's such a calming colour. I have a whole heap of nature books with green covers. All nabbed by my daughter for her green aesthetic in her room 🙄
3. This is not easy this month as I've read some fantastic books. See comments below
#weekendreads
@rachelsbrittain

AllDebooks Non-fiction - Culture Warlords was a very unpleasant but crucial read with #shesaid group.
Rebirding was the best book I've read on rewilding out of a multitude of titles. It's my theme of the year.
Fiction - tagged,and Giovanni's room. The island of the missing trees too, although still reading, I'm utterly besotted.
2y
20 likes1 comment
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AllDebooks

"Once upon a time, at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea, there lay an island so beautiful and blue that the many travellers, pilgrims, crusaders and merchants who fell in love with it either wanted never to leave or tried to tow it with hemp ropes all the way back to their own countries.
Legends, perhaps.
But legends are there to tell us what history has forgotten."

Hooked ?

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emmaturi
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this love story, set in Cyprus and also set in London. It was very moving.

34 likes1 stack add
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Tgbsfk
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“Cartography is another name for stories told by winners.”

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jlhammar
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🍓Yes
🍓 I wasn‘t sure I‘d enjoy the POV of a fig tree, but those sections ended up being my favorite in tagged book.

#Two4Tuesday
@TheSpineView

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! Happy Tuesday! 2y
30 likes1 comment
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Eva_B
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Pickpick

This is the second book I‘ve read by this author. I really loved this one. Beautifully written story

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vlwelser
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Pickpick

I also finished this lovely gem. One of the narrators is a fig tree, so extra points for originality. And it's about Cyprus which is super interesting. Now I need to read the book that beat this for the Women's Prize. Because that must be epic.

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2y
44 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

Vivid in setting, inventive in form, this book was a definite departure from a typical reading experience for me. The cover alone drew me to this, and then I read that a fig tree is a character so I was sold. Lost and found love, family connection, belonging, war, and nature. 🌳

Cortg Sounds great! I always love a book that‘s a bit different. 2y
Megabooks This was so good! 2y
93 likes1 stack add2 comments
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jlhammar
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I‘m really hoping one of these is crowned winner later today! Loved them both. #womensprize

squirrelbrain Sorrow and Bliss is my fave, but also wouldn‘t mind The Sentence or Bread… 2y
jlhammar @squirrelbrain I am a huge Louise Erdrich fan and thought The Bread was very good so wouldn't be too sad if either of those won instead. There was a lot to love (for me) about the Ozeki too. Great Circle is the only shortlisted title that didn't really do it for me. Not bad by any means, but I'll be a little disappointed if that wins over the others. 2y
squirrelbrain I didn‘t love the Ozeki but can see that it could win. I liked Great Circle when I read it, but now find it a bit bland compared to the others. 2y
See All 7 Comments
jlhammar @squirrelbrain Wow, I am kind of shocked that Ozeki won! I really liked that book, but didn't think it really had a chance. You just never know! 2y
squirrelbrain I know, it surprised me too! 2y
sarahbarnes I‘m a little surprised by the outcome today! 2y
jlhammar @sarahbarnes Right? I didn‘t see that coming. Good for Ruth though. A Tale for the Time Being is my favorite of hers. 2y
50 likes7 comments
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Chelsea.Poole
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#BookandBreakfast
My next read is delightful so far!

jlhammar One of my favorites from the Women's Prize shortlist. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed it. And that breakfast looks so good! 2y
sarahbarnes This one is up next for me too! 2y
71 likes2 comments
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Leniverse

While religions clash to have the final say, and nationalisms teach a sense of superiority and exclusiveness, superstitions on either side of the border coexist in rare harmony.

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Leniverse

People assume it's a matter of personality, the difference between optimists and pessimists. But I believe it all comes down to an inability to forget. The greater your powers of retention, the slimmer your chances of optimism.

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VRM1975
Pickpick

.

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Addison_Reads
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I almost filled the board for May. 😁

Maybe I'll get a blackout for June.
#BookSpinBingo #BookSpin #DoubleSpin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Fabulous month!!! 2y
30 likes1 comment
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MegCaldwell
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Pickpick

Absolutely remarkable. Everything about this prose is lush and green and delicate and rough.

10 likes1 stack add
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MinnieTimperley
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Pickpick

This book is powerful in its exposure of the conflict between the Greeks and the Turkish in Cyprus. There is ingenuity with a central voice being given to a fig tree whom is able to observe human folly whilst themselves being uprooted and scarred by the machinations of men. The wider ecological disaster that looms for all of humanity casts a onimious shadow over the Cypriot conflict and it fallout on the lives of the central characters.

MinnieTimperley We experience short visits to 1970s and 1990s in Cyprus and England in 2010. There are some interesting characters, but we don't spend enough time with them to be fully drawn and realised. This is a rare comment to make, but the book would have benefitted from being longer to enable me to know and understand the characters better and make more of an emotional connection with them. (edited) 2y
MinnieTimperley The whole way through reading, I could not help making comparisons with Richard Powers' Overstory. Knowing that Shafak shared a Booker stage with him the same year she was on the shortlist for 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, made me think his work had inspired her exploring the world of trees, their ability to communicate and their importance. (edited) 2y
LiteraryinLawrence Awesome review! 2y
57 likes3 comments