Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See


With Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See has allowed us a window into the secluded world of ladies’s rooms in rural China within the 1800s. The central characters of this heart-felt and in the end heart-wrenching story are Lily, the daughter of a farmer; and her laotong (lifelong emotional associate), Snow Flower. The 2 talk utilizing particular writing distinctive to girls, referred to as nu shu.

Their friendship deepens all through their childhood and adolescence, however earlier than Snow Flower’s marriage, Lily discovers one thing stunning about Snow Flower’s circumstances that causes her to distrust her buddy. However, as they get older and grow to be moms, Lily believes that she is continuous to be a real buddy to Snow Flower, upholding the laotong vows they made to one another as kids. Nevertheless, Lily discovers the reality about Snow Flower solely after a break of their friendship. Lily tells the story from the attitude of previous age, trying again over her life, which permits her to disclose her actions and ideas in the meanwhile, in addition to mirror upon her assumptions from the attitude of a few years.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is advised from throughout the tradition. There isn’t a Western-influenced judgment in opposition to conventional practices similar to footbinding or the choice for sons. The ladies’s lives are depicted actually via the lens of their cultural worth system. Thus, whereas Lily admits that her footbinding was excruciatingly painful, and mourns when her youthful sister dies from an infection because of the observe, she doesn’t hesistate to topic her personal daughter to the method. The truth at the moment made small toes one of many few methods for a lady to realize standing and prosperity.

The wealthy daily-life particulars of the novel convey alive the milieu through which these girls stay: the sensation of driving in a cramped palanquin; the precise manner that lengthy strips of material are wrapped to bind a foot; the style and texture of candied taro cubes, a favourite deal with for Lily and Snow Flower. Conventional tales, poems, and songs are woven all through for example the social values these girls aspired to and needed to stay inside. The novel options all kinds of ladies characters: business-minded matchmakers; a soft-hearted aunt; a strong-willed mom; and compassionate mates.

A film primarily based on the guide was launched in 2011. The picture above is from the film poster. For extra details about the setting and tradition of the guide, try Lisa See’s web page, Inside Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Though Lisa See doesn’t look Chinese language, she is in truth half Chinese language and spent a lot time throughout her childhood within the dwelling of her father’s household in Los Angeles Chinatown. Her Chinese language-American household is chronicled in her fascinating guide, On Gold Mountain.

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