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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Hardcover – 1 Jul 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Publishing (1 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753176408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753176405
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,810,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A startlingly vivid novel ... so gorgeous it hurts.' -- Cosmopolitan Magazine

'Ladies, buy two copies of this wonderful book, and give one to your dearest friend.' -- The Times

'This novel is an epic journey, as exciting and believable as it is thrillingly original.' -- Sunday Express

'[An] evocative and enthralling insight into the hidden history of Chinese women.' -- Psychologies Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a triumph on every level, a beautiful, heartbreaking story. (Washington Post Book World)

Achingly beautiful, a marvel of imagination of a real and secret world that has only recently disappeared. It is a story so mesmerizing that the pages float away and the story remains clearly before us from beginning to end. (Amy Tan) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 4 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Though we often say upon beginning to describe a wonderful book we have just finished: 'this is the best book I have ever read', (and like many, I have used that phrase before) all too often, some time later, we feel the need to say the same again of another book we finish, and so one afterwards is left asking themselves the question: 'what indeed IS the best book I have ever read'? Well, I have no doubt it has to be this!

'Snow Flower And The Secret Fan' was simply wonderful! No book I have ever read made me openly 'weep' through the whole of a chapter... So much so, that I was convinced that these had been 'real' people and had existed. In fact, I wanted to believe it - not sure why when in parts the story was so painful and sad, but perhaps in my subconscious I did not wish to believe that I had been so 'taken in' by fictional people - or by such a talented Writer? The mystery will never be solved, but this novel is simply beautiful...

An early chapter left me feeling somewhat 'disturbed' by its immense detail. Though by nature I am not a 'squeamish' sort of person, I was in fact deeply affected by the chapter that dealt with the whole process of 'footbinding' and the suffering this involved (the breaking of bones in the feet - along with them hanging loosely within the flesh until they 'fused') I found this very difficult and hard-going, and just wanted to get past it... However, the book is also extremely educational for all of us who are ignorant of what these sorts of cultures are about - after all, these things did go on, and so thus it is very informative. I also love a book with 'surprises', and the hard-hitting event surrounding the life of 'Beautiful Moon' that came quite out of the blue got me immediately 'hooked'!
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Rosalind on 27 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most unforgetable books I've ever read, and I've read several books a week for 50 years! There are many books about China, but this one is based on a custom I had never heard about, that of two young girls binding themselves to each other for life at a very early age. They communicate using a secret language known only to women and meet only rarely.
If you have ever thought your life was difficult, reading this will make you realise how very much more difficult, controlled and full of physical and mental pain were the lives of Chinese women until fairly recently. As a little girl the heroine was allowed outside unfettered only once. Repeatedly told girls were absolutely worthless and unloved by anyone except her sworn friend, her feet are agonizingly bound and she is married to a man she has never seen.
Beautiful and interesting though the descriptions of the culture are, the main theme of the book is the unfolding story of the attachment of the two girls (as the title suggests). The final chapters will live with you for a long time.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Laura Smith on 20 April 2007
Format: Paperback
"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" is a suspenseful and poignant novel set in nineteenth century China at a time when foot-binding was practiced and women were kept secluded.

Two women in Hunan province establish a deep friendship as laotongs, "old sames." These are girls that are paired off with each other in a friendship that can last a lifetime. Their bond grows over the years as they struggle with famine, unrest, arranged marriages and motherhood. Their close friendship is threatened when misunderstanding arises between them.

This book offered a glance into women's life in nineteenth century China in an absorbing story. I recommend this book along with The Tenderness of Wolves and Nexus: A Neo Novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This was a very beautiful book that really made me think, wonder and empathise about the Chinese way of life in the past and particularly the journey that Chinese girls are forced to endure in the belief that what they suffer will make them stronger, gain them husbands, produce them sons and ultimately benefit their families and gain those families a higher status in society. I read it and alternately winced with pain at some of the horrific depictions of the Chinese practice of foot-binding and then smiled at the genuine friendship between the narrator Lily and her laotong (the ultimate lifelong friend forever), Snowflower and then felt sorrow for Lily's own dysfunctional relationship with her family.

Being a daughter, Lily wasn't really considered as important as her brothers by any of her family, until a local matchmaker told Lily's family that she was quite possibly destined to have a higher path in life: should she have her feet bound into perfect golden lilies (small feet were considered desirable by Chinese men) and be bound with a Laotong (instead of just a mere sworn sister), then she would eventually marry into an important family and produce sons destined for great things. This book is told from a now eighty year old Lily's perspective as she reflects on her past and all she has been through and reads like a very powerful, haunting memoir. Though it is fiction, the research is so impeccable that it feels very real and it definitely moved me as a reader. This book is both poignant and haunting and I know some of what I'm read will stay with me- I have learned a lot from this story.

I don't want to give too much away about this novel as it is definitely one that everyone needs to read if they have an interest in a culture so very different from that in western society.
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