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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005)

by Lisa See

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,134415490 (4.01)560
Lily is haunted by memories--of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness. In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu ("women's writing"). They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become "old sames" at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, 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 lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.… (more)
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» See also 560 mentions

English (405)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (2)  German (1)  All languages (413)
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
This is the story of two young girls who become "laotong" for the rest of their lives and then how their lives unfold with joys and hardships in traditional Chinese culture. Laotong means they form a deep and somewhat secretive friendship that transcends everything else and comes with great commitments. It is a wonderful read that quickly pulls you into their world and keeps you there throughout. The book also provides a more detailed window in the traditional practice of foot binding that isn't for the squeamish but important to the story and to understanding Chinese women's lives at that time.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy historical fiction, Chinese culture and women's studies.

( )
  jjpseattle | Aug 2, 2020 |
المكان و الزمان : الصين في القرن التاسع عشر
هي ما يمكن أن يطلق عليه لقب أدب أنثوي ، عن معايير الجمال وقتها ، طقوس و عادات الريف ..
عن النظرة للمرأة أنها عبء على عائلتها ، لا قيمة لها إن لم تتزوج ، و تعد ضيف عند أهل زوجها ..
العديد من العادات الغريبة كـ ألا يرى المخطوبين بعضهما البعض ، طول مدة التحضير للخطبة و الزواج ..
و الأهم عادة ربط القدمين و صغر حجم القدمين كعلامة من علامات الجمال ، و لغة الـ نو شو ، كيف كن نساء الريف يهمسن فيما بينهن و كيف كن يتواصلن ، و يعبرن عن آلامهن فيما بينهن ..
تفكير ربما يظل مسيطرًا على الفكر الشرقي العربي

رواية عبارة عن تفاصيل ، تصف واقع كئيب عانت منه النساء

يمكننا القول أنها ما تصنف كـ أدب أنثوي
كم المعلومات التي حاولت الكاتبة الحصول عليه ، و كم العمل الجاد على هذا العمل كان رائعًا.. ( )
  Reem.Amgad | Jun 3, 2020 |
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. ( )
  SumisBooks | Jun 1, 2020 |
A study in how a hard life can cause a heart to harden and how our deepest needs can lead us and cripple us, and paradoxically how good fortune is not always the best for us. ( )
  quondame | May 15, 2020 |
An engaging story of a friendship between two women in China in the 1800's. It's so informative about the restrictive nature of their lives, goes into much detail about the binding of feet and why it is so culturally important, and delves into the social strata of the time. The story stayed with me long after finishing the book -how even the best of friends can lose their way through misunderstandings.

Well written, I couldn't put it down. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 405 (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.
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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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Friends Snow Flower and Lily find solace in their bond as they face isolation, arranged marriages, loss, and motherhood in nineteenth-century China.
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