Two Trees Make a Forest: On Memory, Migration and Taiwan
I have learned many words for 'island': isle, atoll, eyot, islet, or skerry. They exist in archipelagos or alone, and always, by definition, I have understood them by their relation to water. But the Chinese word for island knows nothing of water. For a civilisation grown inland from the sea, the vastness of mountains was a better analogue: (dao, 'island') built from the...more
Everything in my education had inoculated me against this kind of anthropocentrism: to resist the idea of nature for us alone, of a forest providing arboreal answers to very human predicaments. But still I find myself falling short, seeing in this mountain a mirror for my misunderstandings, as if in knowing its nature I might find a way to belong to this place.
Jessica J. Lee's sophomore book "Two Trees Make a Forest. On Memory, Migration and Taiwan" traces her grandparents' story from China to ...more
touches on the natural environment, the mountains and plants as she hikes on the island, also on the colonial history - but the detail here felt unnecessarily vague to me, and on the written language.
Lee’s debut Turning was one of my treasured discoveries from this past year, and I feel it was that memoir that prepared her for the massive scope of her second book: Taiwan is explored through geological, historical, and personal lenses. In the beginning, Lee paints the country in the bold strokes of millions of years, the timeline of geology, filling our heads with the dramas ...more