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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel by…

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Lisa See

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9,749403464 (4.02)550
Title:Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
Authors:Lisa See
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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


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» See also 550 mentions

English (393)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (402)
Showing 1-5 of 393 (next | show all)
In the beginning, I thought the book was rather depressing because it was so much information about women's hardships--footbinding, heavy preference for sons, very little attention for daughters (who are worthless). I, personally, could not thrive in this strict culture.

Leaving your home to marry into your husband's family sounds tough! I mean, you've grown up surrounded by the women in your family who have taught you everything they know. You marry and hope for sons. If you have sons, the husband's family will care for you and you will join them permanently. I think what bothers me the most is that there are so many restrictions. There's no sense of freedom in the ability to get out, socialize, and make friends.

The laotong relationship between Lily and Snow Flower sounds very unique. To me, I view it as an arranged "best friend" instead of an arranged marriage. You make the agreement in early childhood to be together and be there for each other for the rest of your lives. It sounds cute, but at the same time, it doesn't sound ideal because people can drift apart over misunderstandings (as what happened in the book) or life's circumstances (also what happened in the book). The sworn sisters mentioned in the book almost sounds like a very distinct sorority group. At least you have more than one person for that. It sounds a little more normal to have a special group of friends.

Would this be a good book club book? YES. Would I want to re-read it again. No. I'm just going to appreciate this experience and thank God that I wasn't born into this culture! ( )
  caslater83 | Jun 2, 2019 |
This one follows the life of a Chinese woman during the 19th century and centers upon her contracted relationship with another woman - an intense friendship that is a source of joy and regret. The story follows them from the pain of footbinding, marriage, childbirth, surviving an invasion, cholera, to the end of their lives. The women write to each other using the women's written language, particular to their region. It was extremely interesting, but I felt a bit distant from the characters - it was always in the back of my mind that this society had child mutilation firmly entrenched it its, um, whatever societies become entrenched in. (I know, I'm a terrible writer) The audio book reader's voice always sounded a little forced - like she was trying to sound Chinese without any obvious accent. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 393 (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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I am what they call in our village "one who has not yet died" -- a widow, eighty years old.
No matter how scared I was of her words, I wanted to cling to those wings and fly away
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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