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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005)

by Lisa See

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9,675402461 (4.02)547
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» See also 547 mentions

English (391)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (400)
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
I mostly liked the story - I was fascinated by the oppressive lives of the Chinese women. But of the 2 main characters, I thought the author really only developed one of the personalities completely. Perhaps that was the point, that one personality overshadowed the other, but I don't think she was intentionally making that point that way. I also thought that in a couple of spots, especially at the end of the book, the author droned on and on - it really needed editing to give more emphasis to the message she was trying to convey. So it was a worthwhile read, but I won't likely read anything else by this author. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
Why I Stopped Reading on p. 30ish: At this point I was already skimming, which is why I'm estimating the page number and also why I'm DNF'ing. I'm simply not interested. I don't really have a sense of who this character is, and the writing is full of summarizing block paragraphs. This was going to be a long shot for me anyway, given the genre. On to the next.
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
This was a stunningly beautiful book indeed! Whilst no major events take place, this is a story detailing the life of a woman and the lifelong friendship forged during childhood. Interesting information on foot binding and other Chinese rituals and rites, the lifes of Snow Flower and Lily show the hardship and favour of China during the 19th century.

The language was gentle and lyrical, and it made me want to carry on reading! I can't recommend this book enough if you want something different to read! ( )
  peelap | Feb 3, 2019 |
Such a sad story.
Snow Flower and Lily are laotong. They are "old sames". Joined forever in a bond of sisterhood that runs deeper than blood since the time of their foot binding (7 years old). But life's hardships has no mercy for these two young women. and as women in China their life holds no value. Can their laotong bond withstand the tragedies that life throws at them?
This book was a glimpse into the lives of women in China before the 19th century. It was very interesting in many respects. The book had obviously been very well-researched before written down.
I have to say the one chapter that I absolutely did not like was the chapter where they explain in great detail the horror of the process of foot binding for young women in China. This chapter was so detailed and written in such a way that it became so real that it made me physically ill. Like I seriously wanted to throw up!
With all of the sorrow and pain that these two women endure there is lots in this book about the happiness and joy that life brings them as well. These were my favorite chapters. I especially loved the chapter that ended right before their first children were to be born. This was probably the peak of happiness in this book and was very well written.
It is more than sad what women had to endure in this time. To grow up believing that you are worthless unless you bear a son which you have no control over. And even then to be categorized as lower than a dog in the household... just disgusting. But it is a harsh reality that we all have to face in the fact that that is the way it was. We cannot erase history but rather we can learn from it as we move forward.
I have said it before and I will say it again, this book is very well written. The storyline as well thought-out, well-researched and very easy to follow. The characters are more than identifiable even with their (now) alien way of living to someone who lives in the western world. And as a woman reading this book I found myself wanting deep down to have a laotong of my very own 💞.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone but especially to women in order to get better perspective on their life and to enjoy a good story about the bonds of sisterhood. ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Feb 2, 2019 |
This is a story about a friendship that lasts a lifetime and what it meant to be woman in 18th century China. Lily and Snow Flower became sworn sisters at age seven and maintained this relationship through love, foot binding, family disruptions, lies, deaths and a major schism. From different villages, they were able to secretly communicate through the ancient language nu shu on a shared fan. For ten years, they share writing, learning embroidery, sewing cooking and cleaning while they await their arranged marriages at the age of 17.
The lives of these women is worthless as they are pawns of a patriarchal society dominated by men. They learn early on, “when a girl, obey your father; when a wife, obey your husband; when a widow, obey your son”
This is a really well written and very interesting story of 18th century Chinese rural life. We find a lot of love, intrigue, dishonesty, trauma and insecurity as we witness the development of the girls’ relationships with each other, their families, husbands and children. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Jan 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Seeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ridder, SusanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Song, JanetNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
First words
I am what they call in our village "one who has not yet died" -- a widow, eighty years old.
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No matter how scared I was of her words, I wanted to cling to those wings and fly away
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Friends Snow Flower and Lily find solace in their bond as they face isolation, arranged marriages, loss, and motherhood in nineteenth-century China.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812968069, Paperback)

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In nineteenth century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The two women exchange messages written on silk fans and handkerchieves using nu shu, a unique language that women created in order to communicate in secret, sharing their experiences, but when a misunderstanding arises, their friendship threatens to tear apart.… (more)

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