Combining an immersive exploration of nature with captivatingly beautiful prose, Jessica J. Lee embarks on a journey to discover her family's forgotten history and to connect with the island they once called home.
Taiwan is an island of extremes: towering mountains, lush forests, and barren escarpment. Between shifting tectonic plates and a history rife with tension, the geographical and political landscape is forever evolving. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather's life, Jessica J. Lee seeks to piece together the fragments of her family's history as they moved from China to Taiwan, and then on to Canada. But as she navigates the tumultuous terrain of Taiwan, Lee finds herself having to traverse fissures in language, memory, and history, as she searches for the pieces of her family left behind.
Interlacing a personal narrative with Taiwan's history and terrain, Two Trees Make a Forest is an intimate examination of the human relationship with geography and nature, and offers an exploration of one woman's search for history and belonging amidst an ever-shifting landscape.
JESSICA J. LEE has been awarded the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, Turning, which chronicles her journey swimming 52 lakes in a single year, was longlisted for the Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors. She has a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics. Originally from London, Ontario, the author now lives in Berlin.
“Jessica J. Lee is a writer of rare and exhilarating grace.” —Kate Harris, award-winning author of Lands of Lost Borders
“A subtle, powerful exploration of the relationship between people and place, and a luminous evocation of an extraordinary landscape.” —Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley
“Two Trees Make a Forest takes a twisting path through mountain passes, over tree roots, by spoon billed birds and into a family's past. In this thoughtful memoir, Lee asks the reader to wonder, what makes a homeland? Is it language, family, landscape? I was left with a full heart and a longing to learn the name of each tree that lines my own past.” —Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Starling Days and Harmless Like You
“Both clear-eyed and tender hearted, Two Trees Make a Forest is a profound and gorgeously written meditation on the natural and familial environments that shape us. Jessica J. Lee is a poetic talent keenly attentive to the mysterious and sublime.” —Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti