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Two Trees Make a Forest

Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir
Unabridged   11 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/04/2020

One of The Guardian's Best Books of the Year

Two Trees Make a Forest

In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781696602228


An exhilarating, anti-colonial reclamation of nature writing and memoir, rooted in the forests and flatlands of Taiwan, perfect for fans of Margaret Renkl's Late Migrations and William Finnegan's Barbarian Days.

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Product Description

An exhilarating, anti-colonial reclamation of nature writing and memoir, rooted in the forests and flatlands of Taiwan

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.


"[An] elegiac book, which smoothly incorporates historical and travel threads . . . A beautiful and personal view of an island―and an author―shaped by environment and history." –Kirkus Reviews

"After discovering her grandfather’s fragmented autobiographical writings, Lee―who has a doctorate in environmental history―travels to the island of Taiwan to hunt down lost parts of his story and attempt to reconnect with distant relatives. She offers a poetic tour and anti-colonial reclamation of the island through her descriptions of its flora, fauna, natural disasters, and political history." –Electric Literature

Author Bio

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. She lives in Berlin.