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Elif Shafak

The Island of Missing Trees
  • The Island of Missing Trees

  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE 2022
    A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK
    SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD 2021

    A rich, magical novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World - now a top ten Sunday Times bestseller

    It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic, chilli peppers and wild herbs. This is where one can find the best food in town, the best music, the best wine. But there is something else to the place: it makes one forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its immoderate sorrows.

    In the centre of the tavern, growing through a cavity in the roof, is a fig tree. This tree will witness their hushed, happy meetings, their silent, surreptitious departures; and the tree will be there when the war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to rubble, when the teenagers vanish and break apart.

    Decades later in north London, sixteen-year-old Ada Kazantzakis has never visited the island where her parents were born. Desperate for answers, she seeks to untangle years of secrets, separation and silence. The only connection she has to the land of her ancestors is a Ficus Carica growing in the back garden of their home.

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

    'This book moved me to tears . . . in the best way. Powerful and poignant' Reese Witherspoon

    'A brilliant novel -- one that rings with Shafak's characteristic compassion' Robert Macfarlane

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

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. 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. She is a member of World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). An advocate for women's rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice a TED global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to many major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. She has judged numerous literary prizes and is chairing the Wellcome Prize 2019. Find out more about Elif Shafak on her website: www.elifshafak.com

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