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The English Book Club: The Island of Missing Trees

In the novel The Island of Missing Trees, written by the award-winning British-Turkish writer Elif Shafak, the love story of the 18-year-old Turk Defne and the 17-year-old Greek Kostas starts in 1974, just before the outbreak of the civil war on Cyprus. Their relationship can be rebuilt only 25 years later. The narration constantly switches from the past on the island to the present in London and back. Gaps in the story are filled by the fig tree which used to grow in the tavern where the lovers would secretly meet and which is nowadays also taking roots in London. This really moving novel about love, hate, war, homesickness, loss and grief, written in very rich poetic language, points out that wars affect not only people but also animals and plants.