As an environmental history scholar and nature writer, Lee brings a fascinating perspective to Taiwan based on an immersive connection to the land. Lee eloquently describes Taiwan’s landscapes and natural history ... There are some fascinating bits of information about Taiwan ... The pacing can be a little slow at times, especially due to the alternating sequence of the family- and nature-driven parts. This makes it somewhat like the literary equivalent of following a meandering route, where sometimes it’s what you see along the way and not the final destination that matters.
...luminscent ... combines a botanist’s precision with a poet’s eye and ear ... In Two Trees Make a Forest, she has created a powerful, beautifully written account of the connections between people and the places they call home.
The island of Lee’s interest is Taiwan, and this linguistic excavation makes a fitting opening for a project that relies on archeological exploration ... The poignant question Lee’s story poses is this: How is one to distinguish the idiosyncratic and personal from tradition and culture? Even harder still, how is one to do this if sundered from that very culture? ... Throughout the book, Lee writes compellingly about all the ways Taiwan has been mythologized and orientalized, from the seventeenth century Dutch and Spanish, to Chinese and Japanese conquerors and colonists ... She also makes thoughtful and meticulous distinctions between language variations and transliteration standards in the Chinese diaspora—differences that are often elided in Western writing about Asia ... Love is attention, as the saying goes, and in this, Lee’s memoir truly shines. A remarkable exercise in careful attention, be it to the nuances of language, the turns of colonial history, or a grandfather’s difficult-to-read handwriting, Two Trees Makes A Forest is a moving treatise on how to look closely and see truthfully, even as the fog rolls in.