Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Paperback – 17 Oct 2011
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'Lisa See has written her best book yet ... achingly beautiful, a marvel of imagination of a real and secret world that has only recently disappeared' (Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club)
'Only the best novelists can do what Lisa See has done, to bring to life not only a character but an entire culture, and a sensibility so strikingly different from our own ... engrossing and completely convincing' (Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha)
'The wonder of this book is that it takes readers to a place at once foreign and familiar ... Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a triumph on every level, a beautiful, heartbreaking story' (Washington Post)
'You can relish See's extraordinary novel as a meticulously researched account of women's lives in nineteenth-century China. But you can also savour See's marvellous narrative as a timeless portrait of a contentious, full-blooded female friendship, one that includes, over several decades, envy, betrayal, erotic love, and deep-seated loyalty' (Entertainment Weekly)
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)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a triumph on every level, a beautiful, heartbreaking story. (Washington Post Book World) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
'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'!Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very enjoyable work and one that will leave me with lasting memories. A real insight into China of times past.Published 1 month ago by alisonc
Very interesting read. Footbinding fascinating, gets a bit boring at the end.Published 4 months ago by Ian