wkrauss, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by wkrauss)
This book describes in detail the practice of foot binding. It is also the very special story of a girl and her laotong (lifelong friend) as they grow up in nineteenth century China. The girls must communicate in a secret language, nu shu, and are secluded as they await their wedding days. A very special story and one you will never forget!
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sandasavi, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by sandasavi)
Snow Flower and the Secret fan is the best book I read this Decade. See really knows how to bring you into a story and feel like you know what it was like to live during this harsh part of Chinese History. For me the best part of the book was the friendship between the two girls. Having a best friend who I first met when I was six, I know the strength and support that is needed for a friendship that last a lifetime. Being able to have a friend for a that long is special, they know your entire life. For better or worse a friendship that last that long you know you have someone to fall on in tough times and celebrate in happy times. It is also hard because you can never betray that friendship without a huge lose, like a broken heart. My best friend and I are born 4 days apart have large families but that is where the similarities end. We are like opposites attract. Like the girls in See's book, we also have had our trust issues and when we needed each other the most we severed ties. It took our Mother's to bring us back together again and we are better friends for that experience. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan not only told a story of History but a story of endurance and strength beyond anything most people will experience. I recommend this book to all those who love their dearest friends. This book was really about the friendship, to me. Enjoy reading, it is not easy at times and my tears fell while reading this book. I called my best friend when I finished this book.
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blueviolet, January 13, 2008 (view all comments by blueviolet)
I was captured by this book from the beginning. I haven't been this enthralled with a story in a long time. It captures the beauty, pain and emotions of these brave and duty-bound young girls as they pass through the footbinding stage of life and beyond. It's a riveting although sometimes excruciating account of their lives. I can't say enough about the book. Nobody would be disappointed with this. It's excellent!
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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.