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(Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) By See, Lisa (Author) Compact Disc on 21-Feb-2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Assets (21 Feb. 2006)
  • ASIN: B005C8P7NK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although my heart really wanted a different ending for this wonderful story, I must admit that it is one of the best I've ever read. Reading it was a beautiful journey through time and space. A touching book with characters that seem to be breathe they are so real and capable of evoking such strong emotions. Everything just came to life for me while reading this book. I feel like I have known Snow Flower and Lily almost personally. I felt their joys and their losses.

Thank you to Lisa See for this treat of a novel and for prompting me to find out more about the old Chinese customs and conditions for women, I am learning a great deal.
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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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