Book: The Island of Missing Trees
Author: Elif Shafak
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Read: 1.1.22
Challenge: 2022 PopSugar Reading Challenge
Prompt: #12 – A #BookTok recommendation
Star crossed lovers separated by culture, religion, family, and war – joined together under a fig tree in a tavern allowing their love to blossom in secret. Years later, their teenage daughter seeks to learn her heritage and the origin of the fig tree in their backyard. Finally, she learns of her history.
The fig tree has a voice, which at first is ridiculous but become brilliant. Never thought of the significance of a fig tree viewed from a biblical and multicultural perspective. Adam and Eve covered themselves in fig leaves to hide their shame following their fall. Could the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil be a fig tree? Likewise, many cultures symbolize the fig tree for wealth, fertility, and prosperity.
The trees have a double meaning in the book – one, it signified all the lost people from the civil war between the Greeks and the Turks in Cyprus in the 1970’s. Many people were buried in the rumble never to be seen again. Two, the actual trees where birds, bees, insects, and bats reside keep trees thriving. Both fit into the story to tell the history of its land and people.
It was a good read with a dual, nay, triple timeline: 1970’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s – the latter focusing on the couple’s daughter, Ada, doing a research of her family history for school.
It was a pleasant read and expanded my views of culture and world history.
I have never come across a fig tree and wish to do so in my lifetime. I have an innate connection with trees. They speak to me at a deep level that brings me peace. Meditating under a tree or spending time under its shade close to its trunk is one of the most peaceful practices I hope to implement in my life someday.