The Island of Missing Trees

The Island of Missing Trees

I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted a review of any books or newsletters on the blog. I have been through reading ruts on and off which is annoying. Last night I finished reading “The Island of Missing Tree’s,” by British Turkish author Elif Shafak. It takes place in 1974 on the island of Cyprus where the Greeks and Turks of Cyprus have had tensions over race and religion. Kostas a Greek Cypriot and Defne a Turkish Cypriot fall in love with one another. They know their families won’t approve. Kostas is a Greek Orthodox Christian boy and Defne is a Turkish Muslim girl. They were teenagers when they separated and then years later reunite and move to England together and raise their daughter Ada. The book was different. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. I wanted to read this book last year not because it was a part of Reese’s book club but because of the different cultures and the forbidden love aspect.


Pros & Cons

Elif Shafak has the gift of making her writing flow and be descriptive. I did feel as though I was on the beautiful island of Cyprus before war ravaged it. Sometimes however with how descriptive the writing was it was a bit wordy in some areas and it took a while for the story to start I think. I was able to get through a lot of the book but I feel as though you could skip parts and wouldn’t miss a thing. Ada the daughter of Defne and Kostas was rather annoying in my opinion but I was glad she started to realize that while what happened in the past wasn’t right, that she can’t judge the past through a modern day lenses and starts to mature a bit.  

My favorite characters were really the supporting characters Meryam the aunt and Defne’s sister, Yiorgos and Yussef the men who own the restaurant where the Fig Tree grew. The main characters of Kostas and Defne were just there in my opinion. It was also a bit strange to read parts where the Fig Tree was giving its point of view but in first person.  I also would have liked to have read how Defne and Kostas met. Early in the book bam they were sneaking off to see one another. How did they meet? What likes and dislikes did they have in common or didn’t have in common? They only thing they seemed to have in common was their families disapproval and the only things they didn’t have in common were their races and religious beliefs.



Overall it is something different if you are in a book rut or want to branch outside of the books you normally read. While there was potential it fell flat and it was missing something. It doesn’t mean I won’t read from Shafak in the future. I definitely want to read more from her.