Titled ‘The Island of Missing Trees’, the novel is said to be “a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal”. The story follows teenagers Kostas and Defne as they secretly fall in love in 1974. Over the years, they separate and reunite during the war– while a fig tree witnesses all of this. Years later their daughter tries to find her place in the world.
The book’s synopsis reads: ‘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.’
Published by Penguin, Elif Shafak’s ‘The Island of Missing Trees’ is expected to be out on August 5, 2021.
Shafak has authored 19 books and her works have been translated to 54 languages.