Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts (Paperback)

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The best nonfiction doesn't just illuminate unfamiliar places and ideas in beautiful prose, doesn't just pose questions to the reader about family, identity, & culture while leading them towards possible answers. It also presents the reader with a path towards their own discovery. Lee's new book does all of the above as she tries to understand her place in the world by understanding her relationship to Taiwan, while also guiding the reader towards the question: What if I explored my home as if it were a foreign country?

Josh 

— From Two Trees Make a Forest

Description


This "stunning journey through a country that is home to exhilarating natural wonders, and a scarring colonial past . . . makes breathtakingly clear the connection between nature and humanity, and offers a singular portrait of the complexities inherent to our ideas of identity, family, and love" (Refinery29).

A chance discovery of letters written by her immigrant grandfather leads Jessica J. Lee to her ancestral homeland, Taiwan. There, she seeks his story while growing closer to the land he knew.

Lee hikes mountains home to Formosan flamecrests, birds found nowhere else on earth, and swims in a lake of drowned cedars. She bikes flatlands where spoonbills alight by fish farms, and learns about a tree whose fruit can float in the ocean for years, awaiting landfall. Throughout, Lee unearths surprising parallels between the natural and human stories that have shaped her family and their beloved island. Joyously attentive to the natural world, Lee also turns a critical gaze upon colonialist explorers who mapped the land and named plants, relying on and often effacing the labor and knowledge of local communities.

Two Trees Make a Forest is a genre-shattering book encompassing history, travel, nature, and memoir, an extraordinary narrative showing how geographical forces are interlaced with our family stories.

About the Author


Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award. She received a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics in 2016, and her first book, Turning: A Year in the Water, was published in 2017. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review. She lives in Berlin.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781646220007
ISBN-10: 1646220005
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 304
Language: English