From Goodreads:” 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.“
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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.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Penguin Audio for my digital copy via the NetGalley App.