HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel by…
Loading...

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

by Lisa; Lisa See See

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,197392325 (4.02)524
Member:varwenea
Title:Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel
Authors:Lisa; Lisa See See
Info:Random House paperbacks/ Random House, Inc. (2006), Edition: 2006 Random House Td Ppbk Ed., Paperback
Collections:Your library, Fiction
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

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

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 524 mentions

English (383)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (391)
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
I cried. I am crying still. This told the beautiful and sad story of two laotongs aka old sames, Lily and Snow Flower, and how their lives are transformed by their friendship and life itself. It brings to the table the beauty and frailty of women's relationships in a way that will stay with you long after you've finished.

This was the first book I have ever read of Lisa See and I am thoroughly impressed with her wonderful prose and how well researched it is. ( )
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
I haven't been reading much lately. All my time seems to be settling into the skies of the past, and I have comfortably returned to my "I can't seem to like any book I pick up" phase. Reader's block, anyone?

But I did read Lisa See's wonderful Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a while back. A fascinating read it was too. Lisa See is Chinese-American, although she doesn't look Chinese, and her book is based on an actual tradition that existed in early 19th century China. Suffocated, and cloistered inside their houses, women of that time had no freedom - their foot binding prevented them from the simple joy of walking, and rigid male control did not allow them interactions with society as the men knew it. But these women developed a secret writing - nu shu - understood only by women, and hidden from men's eyes. Lily, one of the protagonists in the novel learns nu shu from an early age, and the book revolves around her laotong, or "same same," and the evolution of their friendship. (Laotong are kindred spirits, allocated to each other through a matchmaker, they have a contract similar to marriage, and provide each other the emotional sustenance that was lacking in many of the arranged marriages at that time).

"A laotong match is as significant as a good marriage," Lily's aunt explains in the book. "A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose ��� to have sons."


Lyrically written, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is as much history as fiction. Lisa See extensively researched for the book, and every practice that she has detailed here did exist in China at that time. Compelling, riveting, charming, and beautiful, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a must read.

"I am a lowly woman with the usual complaints, but inside I also waged something like a man's battle between my true nature and the person I should have been." ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
This book made me feel sick. The description of the foot binding. Ugh. It's sickening. Even worse than corsets.

I also found myself becoming frustrated with Lily's constant insistence that she was in the wrong in her actions toward Snow Flower. She was wrong at times, but Snow Flower was also wrong at times. Lily's action in The Letter of Vituperation may be been dreadful, but it was only the final cut in the severing of an already damaged friendship. Snow Flower lied about everything, then when Lily found out about Snow Flower's circumstances, Snow Flower justified her lies because she didn't want Lily to pity her, but if Lily had known about Snow Flower's troubles when they were children, then Lily would have grown used to the idea and been more able to comfort Snow Flower without showing pity. Snow Flower continued to lie to Lily even after they were married. She lied about her husband's abuse of her, her actions with her husband, and even about her health. Lily took refuge in convention whenever she became uncomfortable and didn't know how to act. If she had known the truth of Snow Flower's life when they were younger, she would have been more comfortable in her reactions to Snow Flowers troubles, but she spent years thinking that Snow Flower was rich and more eligible than herself, only to find out in a few moments how bad her friend actually had it. And I am frustrated at how Lily blamed herself for misinterpreting Snow Flower's words on the fan. Any person in the world would have looked at those words and believed what Lily believed. Because of Snow Flower's Dishonesty and Lily's ignorance in how to comfort Snow Flower without making Snow Flower feel she was being pitied, their friendship disintegrated.

This was a heartbreaking story about a friendship full of lies and misunderstandings. In many ways I hate reading stories about such damaged relationships because it's frustrating to watch the mistakes people make in relationships when you want to take them aside and tell them off for hurting their friend, but it also makes me think, and make me consider things I've done in my relationships with my friends that may have hurt them, that I didn't even realize. I wish the story would have had a happier end, but I also can't see how it could have done. There was just too much hurting on both Snow Flower and Lily's parts, for the story to come to a happy ending, though at least Snow Flower apologized to Lily before her death, and at least Lily made some reparation for her actions, to Snow Flower's son and granddaughter. ( )
  NicoleSch | Feb 26, 2017 |
old sames / women's writing (nushu)
excellent @ Chines Status + changes of woman role — nothing but to produce sons
OBEY, obey obey — do what want
Always elegant ___

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.
  christinejoseph | Jan 1, 2017 |
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a well-written and well-researched historical novel about the lives of Chinese women in the 1800's. Heart breaking and tragic, the "worthless" daughters endure the horrific physical pain of footbinding, harsh living conditions and unreasonable and superstitious cultural practices.

As young girls, Lily and Snow Flower are bound together as "old sames" and pledge lifelong friendship. They communicate through a unique women's writing and spend time together throughout the year during feast days and other celebrations. Through the ups and downs of life, marriage, motherhood and political upheaval they maintain their special relationship until they fall out due to misunderstandings. Lily acts maliciously and has many regrets as she lives out her long life.

The author is able to tell her story clearly and plainly and with good characterizations even though the book is fairly short. It makes for easy and engrossing reading. Lots of rich and textured detail into the daily life and upbringing of women and their unvalued place in Chinese society. I'm very thankful not to grow up in that time and place. ( )
  Zumbanista | Dec 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Seeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ridder, SusanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Song, JanetNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I am what they call in our village "one who has not yet died" -- a widow, eighty years old.
Quotations
No matter how scared I was of her words, I wanted to cling to those wings and fly away
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

Lisa See is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
306 avail.
434 wanted
1 pay1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.02)
0.5
1 29
1.5 4
2 101
2.5 28
3 534
3.5 165
4 1215
4.5 164
5 950

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,222,383 books! | Top bar: Always visible