South Manchester Book Group

We're a friendly and open reading group, and we share a love of books and discussing them with other people. We meet every fortnight, but you don't have to come to them all. It's dead simple; choose a book you like the sound of, read it (or even part of it) beforehand and turn up with a few ideas and money for beer / wine / flirtinis. It's very informal, and we're quite a friendly bunch.

We now meet at Ye Olde Cocke on Wilmslow Road in Didsbury around 8 pm. We can usually be found on the table with the books and flirtinis.

If you enjoy talking about books over a quiet drink, then please join us — new members are very welcome.

Our reading list, past, present, and future, appears here and a short version of what we’re reading next is here.

Thursday, 16 February 2023

The Island of Missing Trees — Elif Shafak

Book cover for The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak The Island of Missing Trees in the South Manchester, Chorlton, Cheadle, Fallowfield, Burnage, Levenshulme, Heaton Moor, Heaton Mersey, Heaton Norris, Heaton Chapel, Northenden, and Didsbury book group It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic, chilli peppers and wild herbs. This is where one can find the best food in town, the best music, the best wine. But there is something else to the place: it makes one forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its immoderate sorrows.

In the centre of the tavern, growing through a cavity in the roof, is a fig tree. This tree will witness their hushed, happy meetings, their silent, surreptitious departures; and the tree will be there when the war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to rubble, when the teenagers vanish and break apart.

Decades later in north London, sixteen-year-old Ada Kazantzakis has never visited the island where her parents were born. Desperate for answers, she seeks to untangle years of secrets, separation and silence. The only connection she has to the land of her ancestors is a Ficus Carica growing in the back garden of their home.

This week's book is The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak and we'll be meeting at Ye Olde Cocke on Wilmslow Road in Didsbury — contact us for details.