Cypriot civil war

The roots of conflict: The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak, reviewed

The Island of Missing Trees feels like a strange title until you realise how hard Elif Shafak makes trees work in her latest novel, an epic tale about love, grief and memory set in Cyprus and London between 1974 and the ‘late 2010s’. One tree, a fig or ficus carica, narrates half the story, tipping Shafak’s 12th novel into myth territory. The others — the missing trees — are stand-ins for those killed in the 1974 Cypriot civil war, metaphors labouring as hard as plants for the British-Turkish author who fled Turkey after being prosecuted for ‘insulting Turkishness’ in her 2006 novel The Bastard of Istanbul. The action opens in