Reading Group 1 Reviews – Nov 23 – The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret.  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.

Member Reviews:

L – I enjoyed this book, I like the way the writer tells the story of the history of Cyprus and  how she tells the story of both sides.

D – I found it a difficult read, rather disjointed with no flow.  And I couldn’t get to grips with a talking fig tree!  Interesting subject which could have been related and explored chronologically, rather than flitting about in different time frames.

Posted in Reading Group 1.