In 19th-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"). Some girls were paired with laotongs, "old sames", in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. 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.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.
©2005 Lisa See; (P)2005 Books on Tape Inc.
"Engrossing....Both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle." (Publishers Weekly)
A window into the culture of 1700's China and the importance of relationships between women. This book is captivating to the last page, a testament to good writing.
This book was just OK. The narrator went a bit over the top and it was difficult to like any of the characters. There were parts that were interesting because I learned a lot about the role of women during that time, but the story itself wasn't great.
What an absolutely wonderful book. It taught me so much about old China and the way women were treated. I thought the narrator was exceptional and the story sorrowful and beautiful both. I loved the book. Would love to read more of the same. I would recommend this to any woman wishing to know more about other female cultures, amazing!!!
Loved everything about this book. It grabbed me at the very beginning and I learned so much from it and about Chinese culture. It was happy, sad, poignant and I wanted it to go on and on. Will be looking for something else by this author and contrary to what other reviewers said, I thought the narrator was terrific and part of the reason this book was so RIVETING. I had trouble putting it down and was sad when it was over.
I am a voracious reader and long-time Audible member (2006). My favorite narrators are Simon Vance and Davina Porter.
This book offers an excellent inside look at the class and gender discrimination that pervaded the era. The author did a lovely job of weaving the relationship of the girls into an intimate and heartwrenching story. Some might say that this book is "women's work" and would not be enjoyed by men, but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it as it passed the time on our daily commute.
I loved this book. I had never heard of this author before and feel very fortunate that I read it. The book exposed a lot of the Chinese traditions. I highly recommend this. The reader was good and very expressive. I will look for more from this author.
A fascinating story about women in China! I knew very little about Chinese culture when I began this book and couldn't believe some of what was said about foot binding. However,when I did some research of my own I found the book was very accurate on that aspect of the story.
I've never read a book where my feelings about the main character changed so completely -- and then changed back. In the end this is a story about the redemptive power of love.
A fascinating listen!
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
Very interesting story about this time period.I didn't love this story but I did find it a very interesting listen.
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