canyonfossil, November 8, 2012 (view all comments by canyonfossil)
Lily and Snow Flower are Chinese girls whose parents bind their feet to make them more marriageable. Far from being child abuse, this is a highly desirable action and keenly anticipated by the girls themselves, because it represents their own chance to improve their station in life through a better marriage. Lily is fortunate in her marriage, but Snow Flower's life is not as she expected. A story of friendship in another culture and another time.
The descriptions of the binding and the ramifications thereof sent me scrambling for research on this custom. Unbelievable, but women today undergo surgery to make their feet fit pointed shoes, so have we really moved on?
Marla Mazalan, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Marla Mazalan)
Well written and researched story of friendship, misunderstanding and the different paths life can take set in 19th century China. Interesting to read about the culture of foot binding from the character's perspective.
Debbie J, March 4, 2010 (view all comments by Debbie J)
This is a very good book. It describes a way of life that makes me so grateful to be born as an American woman in the 20th century. The story of these two friends and the lives they lead is beyond my comprehension beginning with the excrutiating description of the foot binding process to surviving the loss of children and on and on. The deep friendship is inspiring and made me very thankful for my friend who is like an old same to me. I highly recommend this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
by Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Fifth Book of Peace,
"Magical, haunting fiction. Beautiful."
by Portland Oregonain,
"Lisa See...has conquered a new genre — the historical novel — with passion and grit....While the novel's plot, characters and pacing are all exceptional, the true success of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan lies in its cultural relativism."
by Los Angeles Times,
"See's translucent prose style gleams with the beauty of 19th century Chinese culture but also makes us burn with indignation at its sexist ugliness and injustice."
by Washington Post,
"[A] triumph on every level, a beautiful, heartbreaking story."
by Amy Tan, author of Saving Fish from Drowning,
"A marvel of imagination . . . so mesmerizing the pages float away and the story remains clearly before us from beginning to end."
by Chicago Tribune,
"A provocative and affecting portrait."
by Baltimore Sun,
"Extraordinary . . . breathtaking."
by Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha,
"An engrossing and completely convincing portrayal of a woman shaped by suffering forced upon her from her earliest years, and of the friendship that helps her to survive."
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 shes 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.
Set in 19th-century China, See's national bestseller tells a story of two young women who find solace with each other, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. High school & older.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.