REVIEW | Snow Flower and the Secret Fan | Lisa See


If you liked Memoires of a Geisha then you’re going to love this beautiful tale.


What's it about?

Based in nineteenth-century China, two young girls, Lily and Snow Flower, are matched as one another’s laotongs or ‘old same’. The reader is taken on a journey throughout their emotional pairing over the course of their lives. Snow Flower introduces herself by writing a poem to Lily on a silk fan in nu shu, a secret language that Chinese women created in order to communicate away from the influence of men. As the years pass, the pair exchange messages on the fan and write tales on handkerchiefs in order to express their fears, hopes and dreams. The pair endure the agony of foot-binding at a young age and continue to share their experiences of their arranged marriages, motherhood and the loneliness that they feel. The strong bond that develops between the two characters displays the importance of friendship and the solace that it produces in order for the pair to keep their spirits alive. However, when a misunderstanding arises, their strong foundation is threatened and could be destroyed.

My opinion:

The novel is beautifully imaginative and is eloquently written. The tale of friendship between the two characters is an enthralling and gripping portrayal of women who experience misery and suffering forced upon them from an early age and how their friendship comforts one another in order to survive. This novel is one of my favourites as it is so engrossing and I am certain that I will be re-reading it in the future along with trying out other novels written by See.  

Praise for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

“Stirring.”
Vogue

“If there is a sleeper summer hit, it should be this story, which draws you into a time not as ancient as it seems, touching your heart and breaking it at the same time.”
USA Today

“See’s fluid language, her re-creation of Lily and Snow Flower’s world is engaging.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“See’s writing is intricate and graceful, and her attention to detail never wavers, making for a lush, involving reading experience.”
Booklist

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