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Book Club Podcast: The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

05 April 2023

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The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak is the choice for this month’s Church Times Book Club. On this episode of the Book Club Podcast, Dr Natalie K. Watson, who has written about the book in this week’s Church Times, is in conversation with Sarah Meyrick.

The Island of Missing Trees is set between Cyprus in 1974, at the start of the country’s conflict with Turkey, and London, decades later. Two teenagers, Kostas and Defne, from different sides of the warring parties, meet in secret at a taverna. In the middle of the taverna is an impressive fig tree. Kostas, a keen botanist, takes a cutting from his beloved Ficus carica when forced to flee to England. It is from the perspective of the fig tree that much of the story is told — a tale of love, loss, and generational trauma.

Born in France (1971) to Turkish parents, Elif Shafak is an academic, author, and advocate of women’s and minority rights. As an author of fiction, she has written 11 published novels in both Turkish and English. She was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019. She now lives in London.

The Island of Missing Trees is published by Penguin at £9.99 (Church Times Bookshop £8.99); 978-0-241-98872-5.

The Church Times Book Club is run in association with the Festival of Faith and Literature.

Sign up to receive the free Book Club email once a month. Featuring discussion questions, podcasts and discounts on each book: churchtimes.co.uk/newsletter-signup.

Discuss this month’s book at facebook.com/groups/churchtimesbookclub

Dr Natalie K. Watson is a theologian, writer, and editor, living in Peterborough.

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