Reading Wednesday

Book Review The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

For those of you who have been following My Fab Fifties Life for awhile, you probably remember we were trapped for two months on the island of Cyprus when the world shut down in March 2020. Although we were on lockdown and didn’t get to see any of the sites, it remains one of the most amazing experiences of our life. Since 2020 we have counted the days until we could return to this beautiful island, which we will do on June 23rd. So, in preparation for that return visit, we read this beautiful book. Here is my book review The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.


Even if you never intend to visit Cyprus, you should read this book. Isn’t that what is so great about reading anyway…it transports you to somewhere new? The tiny island of Cyprus is one of the most remarkable places I have been…and I don’t think many people know anything about it. The supposed birthplace of Aphrodite this island has seen so much violence and Civil War. Once a British Colony, it became war torn in 1974 when the island was split between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Today the border conflict remains and this is the story behind The Island of Missing Trees.

1970’s -2010

The story spans forty years but begins in London in 2010 when we meet Ada, a 15 year old troubled young girl who has recently lost her mother. At first I’m not sure where this young lady fits in, but slowly the story unfolds of her parents love. Her father Kostas, a Greek Cypriot and her mother Defne a Turkish Cypriot are caught up in a forbidden love, just as Cyprus falls deep into Civil War. But how the story gets to London in 2010 is a sad and deep yarn.

The Honorable Fig Tree

Some people might find this part of the book strange, but I absolutely loved that this story is narrated by an old Fig Tree. This tree has stood for generations and has been witness to so much joy, love, grief, war and loss. And still it lives. Although it took me awhile to understand the narrator was a tree, it really added a depth to the story.

Book Review The Island of Missing Trees

Shafka builds a beautiful story, with so much reminiscent of today’s horrifying political unrest in Eastern Europe. The Island of Missing Trees at it’s core is about how politics (and politicians), civil unrest, war and strife cause untenable pain and damage for generations of human beings. So timely for today’s violent world. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.

*****Five stars for The Island of Missing Trees

Read last week’s review of Voices of the 21st Century

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