The Island of Missing Trees

Narrated by Daphne Kouma; Amira Ghazalla
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Pub Date 5 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 6 Aug 2021

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Description

Brought to you by Penguin.

A rich, magical new novel 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. 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


© Elif Shafak 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Brought to you by Penguin.

A rich, magical new novel 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...


Advance Praise

'A brilliant novel -- one that rings with Shafak's characteristic compassion for the overlooked and the under-loved, for those whom history has exiled, excluded or separated. I know it will move many readers around the world, as it moved me' Robert Macfarlane

'A wonderfully transporting and magical novel that is, at the same time, revelatory about recent history and the natural world and quietly profound' William Boyd

'This is an enchanting, compassionate and wise novel and storytelling at its most sublime' Polly Samson

'Shafak is passionately interested in dissolving barriers, whether of race, nationality, culture, gender, geography or a more mystical kind' Sunday Times

'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi

'Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann

'A writer of important, beautiful, painful, truthful novels' Marian Keyes

'Lovely heartbreaker of a novel centered on dark secrets of civil wars & evils of extremism: Cyprus, star-crossed lovers, killed beloveds, damaged kids. Uprootings. (One narrator is a fig tree!)' Margaret Atwood on Twitter

'A brilliant novel -- one that rings with Shafak's characteristic compassion for the overlooked and the under-loved, for those whom history has exiled, excluded or separated. I know it will move many...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format, Unabridged
ISBN 9780241993026
PRICE £10.83 (GBP)
DURATION 11 Hours, 44 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 19 members


Featured Reviews

A short snap shot of Cyprus and the wars between the different countries and religions who lived there. This story tells the tale of unacceptable love beautifully. Two young people who find each other but know their families would never agree to their love, their journey through separation, reconnection and finally being together. This story hurts your heart. How much loss and suffering people have gone through, in the name of war-it’s so sad. This book is very unique as it holds two main viewpoints. That of the forbidden lovers and their families and that of a fig tree that witnessed everything. This voice of the fig is such a level Headed view - the history it has seen, the insight it has, is amazing. I’ve never thought of what the plants around us may think. A really beautifully written book- a real insight in to Cyprus during a very painful time in history. I listened to this as an audio book and honestly feel the different voices really helped to bring the story to life. Such an interesting read.

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This is probably one of my favourite books of the year and will definitely be recommending it to everyone . The story follows a family in London who originated from Cyprus and it’s also tells the story from a fig trees perspective. Stay with me. Sounds mad but it works! Especially in audio book form! This book has everything . A love story, war, sadness, loss , lgtbq rep, history , family drama , mental health rep … Read it. I honestly am so glad I did .

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This book, set in different time periods from the 1970s to now is an amazing book. The story is set in Cyprus and in London and revolves around the turbulent history of the island. This novel gives a touching and moving account of an island tour apart by hate,religion,conflict, love and war. In a London classroom we are introduced to Ada. She is set some homework by her teacher where she has to interview a relative and we learn that all of her relatives are in Cyprus. Then the story flips between Ada’s life now and her parents life then, and we learn about their roots and their history. A large part of this book is narrated by a fig tree. I did not really enjoy this. I did love the story though and learnt a lot about Cypriot history The narration was excellent and I can’t fault the voice actors. But I do think I would have enjoyed this more had I read it instead. I think I would’ve been swept up in the story more. This happens frequently to me with literary fiction. I have read three of Elif Shafak’s books and have enjoyed all 3. Shafak is an incredible writer and I look forward to more storytelling from this author.

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This audiobook was so good, a mixture of contemporary and historical fiction. I learnt so much about Cyprus through this magical tale partly narrated by a fig tree! I got caught up with the story of Kostas and Defne straight away and desperately wanted to know what happened to them in Cyprus as the civil war took hold of the island. I wanted to know how Kostas got to London and hoped I’d found out more through his daughter Ada’s story set in the 2010s. This really was a fantastic book especially as the fig tree tells it’s story, and the story of Cyprus by the creatures it has met through the years. The twist at the end was perfect! The narration by Daphne Kouma and Amira Ghazalla, both new-to-me narrators, was so good, making this a wonderful listening experience. I haven’t read or listened to anything by Elif Shafak before but I’m definitely going to check out her back catalogue! Highly recommended if you enjoy audiobooks told from a different perspective.

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The Island of Missing Trees is an atmospheric novel that is split across a number of POVs and timelines, the most interesting of which is the narration of a fig tree that has lived since before our earliest timeline (1970s). The fig tree is what held this book together for me, it was full of brilliant information about trees and tree life and without it I would likely not have finished this book. The other characters and even the story line did not feel developed enough and made everything appear quite surface level in what should have been an impactful story. Shafak is a beloved author and I will definitely keep an eye out for their next work. With regards to the audio, I would have preferred the same narrator/voice actor to cover all POVs - the fig tree audio felt far more rich and fitting the tone of the work and would have suited for the entire book.

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