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
[Elif Shafak] joins writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Aamer Hussein, Andrea Levy, Hanan al-Shakyh and Leila Aboulela, who offer us fictional glimpses of London's Others ― The Independent
A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. The Island of Missing Trees is balm for our bruised times -- David Mitchell, author of Utopia Avenue
One of the best writers in the world today ― Hanif Kureishi
The Island of Missing Trees is a magical masterpiece . . . Elif Shafak has done it again with this brilliant novel of the secrets of hearts, the history of Cyprus and the beauty of memory. Truly full of miracles. -- Kate Williams
An intimate, affecting memoir . . . Her passion for literature is contagious ― Colleen Mondor on Black Milk
The Island of Missing Trees, for all its uses of enchantment, is a complex and powerful work in which the harrowing material settles on the reader delicately ― FT
Poignant . . . [Shafak] knows exactly when to dangle unanswered questions, when to drench our senses, when to offer meaningful musings, elegant metaphors and tugs at the heartstrings ― Sunday Times
Compassionate and enchanting, it's a transporting tale of roots, renewal and talking trees ― Mail on Sunday, Best New Fiction
Enchanting . . . Shafak's writing is poised and expressive, remarkable for its charm and lyricism . . . The novel is a tapestry of heavy emotions, but it's one that's spun with brightness ― Sunday Telegraph, Novel of the Week
The Cyprus setting is stunningly described in this spellbinding story about identity, love and loss ― Good Housekeeping, 'this month’s 10 books to read right now’ (September)
The Island of Missing Trees is a strong and enthralling work: its world of superstition, natural beauty and harsh tribal loyalties becomes your world . . . for all its uses of enchantment, it is a complex and powerful work in which the harrowing material settles on the reader delicately ― FT
About the Author
Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist whose work has been translated into 54 languages. The author of 19 books, 12 of which are novels, she is a bestselling author in many countries around the world. Shafak's latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award; and chosen as Blackwell's Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. In 2021, Shafak's The Architect's Apprentice was chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall's inaugural book club, The Reading Room. Find out more about Elif Shafak on her website: www.elifshafak.com.