The Island of Missing Trees

2022 has had a slow reading start. I read 50% of Colm Toibin’s The Magician, but really didn’t love it. It’s quite long, so that was many days of wasted reading. I picked up The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak because of Reese, of course. It had a bit of a slow start as well, but I did stick with it. “Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he’s searching for lost love. Years later a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited— her only connection to her family’s troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world.” (Amazon) This was a fine read, but I can’t say I loved it. Hoping for a better choice next.

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