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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See

A language kept a secret for a thousand years forms the backdrop for an unforgettable novel of two Chinese women whose friendship and love sustains them through their lives.An old woman -Lily is the daughter of a humble farmer who tells of her relationship with her "old-same," their arranged marriages, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. When the local matchmaker delivers startling news: if Lily's feet are bound properly, they will be flawless. In nineteenth-century China, where a woman's eligibility is judged by the shape and size of her feet, this is extraordinary good luck. Lily now has the power to make a good marriage and change the fortunes of her family. To prepare for her new life, she must undergo the agonies of footbinding, learn nu shu, the famed secret women's writing, and make a very special friend, Snow Flower. But a bitter reversal of fortune is about to change everything.
I love the cover of this book. It is like the writing, beautiful, rich and enticing. When I first saw the book come into the store I was like wow, then reading the blurb made me want to continue reading. From the first pages the story had me enthralled. Lily is a life like character with all her goods and faults. She makes mistakes and yet still soldiers on. Snow Flower is such a beautiful girl weighed down by hardship and these two laotong are the support for each other till there is a gross misunderstanding that forever marrs their relationship. 

The author describes the pain of footbinding and the utter hopelessness of some of the womens lives, yet also portrays the love, kindness and companionship that is the basis of most families. The sense of duty and filial respect that must be show for the elders and menfolk and the secret language of nu shu is deeply embedded in the lives of all the women.This is a wonderfully written story and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Amy Tan and Arthor Golden.

Lisa See is the author of seven novels, including the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love and Flower Net (which was nominated for an Edgar Award), The Interior, and Dragon Bones. She is also the author of the widely acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. She lives in Los Angeles. 

1 comment:

  1. The footbindings had me cringing and yet I couldn't put the book down. The bond they made and as they went through life, even stuck up in the hills freezing, made me long for the book to go on and on.

    I wish there were more books out there like this one!

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