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The Island of Missing Trees (2021)

por Elif Shafak

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1,0815018,733 (4.03)160
"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. A moving, beautifully written, and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history, and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees is Elif Shafak's best work yet." --… (mais)
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Inglês (44)  Holandês (4)  Alemão (1)  Francês (1)  Todas as línguas (50)
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I’ve visited Cyprus many times over the years and have always been curious about its history and its people, the bloodshed and displacement. Elif Shafak describes the course of events in heart-breaking detail and gave me a greater understanding of the crisis and the impact it had on the islanders.

The Island of the Missing Trees is narrated over three different timelines: divided Nicosia in 1974, Cyprus in the early 2000s and London in the late 2010s. It tells the moving story of Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Dephne who fall in love as teenagers and are forced to meet secretly in the back room of The Happy Fig, a tavern named after the fig tree that grows through its roof. Their future is shaped by the outbreak of war and family loyalties, their journey driven by buried memories and missing people.

I loved the way nature is brought to life, the shimmering clouds of butterflies, the multi-lingual Chico and the musings and memories of an ancient ficus carica. The prose is lyrical, the analogies sublime.

Roots, trunks and branches. Rooted, uprooted and re-rooted. Nationalism, alcoholism and depression. Forbidden love, enduring love and hidden love. Mythology, mysticism and djinns. Massacre, murder and mayhem. Archaeology, ecology and botany. Teenage angst, mouth-watering cuisine and home. Heart, body and soul. The Island of Missing Trees is a diverse and immersive read.

“Arriving there is what you are destined for,
But do not hurry the journey at all.”

Savoured from start to end.

Magical, mesmerising and moving ( )
  geraldine_croft | Mar 22, 2024 |
This book hovered between a 4 and 5 rating. There were enough elements to make it a 5 - good writing, history and politics of Cyprus (not common in literature), some mystery as you wonder what happened between Defne and Kostas, and a flamboyant aunt Meryem arriving on the scene. An engaging read and I remember there was at least one part that moved me but now I can't remember what it is. But I didn't really like the fig tree's narration. It is ingenious but the tree can be rather verbose, slowing down the plot. ( )
  siok | Feb 18, 2024 |
Borrowed from library .
In this novel a fig tree watches, waits and witnesses. A young couple meet secretly because he is Greek and she’s Turk and they cannot be together. They meet at a Tavern called “ The Happy Fig”. Fast forward and father and daughter are in London trying to get on after Ada’s mother’s death. Kostas has planted a graft from the happy fig in their backyard . The tree talks to the readers and it’s not weird. This novel is filled with a love for nature and is rooted in the arboreal world. There is a love too for a fractured island, Cyprus which is home to Kostas and Defne during war torn years.
There is a lovely poetry and mysticism to this book ( )
  Smits | Dec 11, 2023 |
Well written but after a while the narrating tree got a bit „know it all“ ( )
  kakadoo202 | Oct 16, 2023 |
Elif Şafak normally has a gift for finding interesting subject-matter for fiction in unlikely places, but this turned out to be a disappointingly routine Romeo-and-Juliet story set against the background of the intercommunal violence on Cyprus in 1974. The idea of having a fig tree act as one of the narrators was clever, and allowed her to bring in a lot of interesting botanical background, but it wasn't really quite enough to lift the book out of the realms of the predictable. Maybe it just made it a bit too obvious that this was an entirely research-driven project. There's a complicated bit of plot-gymnastics involved in the timeline, but that seems to be there only to allow a pair of teenage lovers from 1974 to have a daughter young enough to be a victim of cyber-bullying, and even then that part of the story doesn't really add anything, it just seems to fizzle out. Pleasant enough to read, but not one of her best. ( )
  thorold | Aug 22, 2023 |
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Elif Shafakautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Pérez Parra, Inmaculada C.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world. 

                     —Pablo Neruda, Memoirs
It will have blood: They say blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move and trees to speak . . .

         —William Shakespeare, Macbeth
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To immigrants and exiles everywhere,
             the uprooted, the re-rooted, the rootless

And to the trees we left behind
                       rooted in our memories . . .
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Once upon a memory, at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea, there lay an island so beautiful and blue that the many travelers, pilgrims, crusaders and merchants who fell in love with it either wanted never to leave or tried to tow it with hemp ropes all the way back to their own countries.
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…bridges appear in our lives only when we are ready to cross them.
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"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. A moving, beautifully written, and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history, and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees is Elif Shafak's best work yet." --

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