Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I kept hearing wonderful things about this book, that it was a sure-fire book group pleaser and all that, and I tell you—it was! It’s a simple, spare novel about 19th century China when footbinding was still very much a part of women’s lives and friendships as well as marriages were arranged. Our narrator, Lily, had an “old sames” or laotong friendship arranged with Snow Flower, a young girl from a more auspicious family. Women had their own phonetic written language called nu shu and these girls shared their lives and thoughts over the years through letters (I automatically love novels about letters—just so you know). But misunderstanding and resentment begins to grow between them through their years as wives and mothers. Written with great sadness, Lily revisits her friendship with Snow Flower, slowly unfolding where they both steered wrong, where they both lost track of their true selves and one another. Not a book to finish on the bus—I had to choke back tears and regret that I didn’t give myself a proper, messy cry!


lvknits said...

Hi Misha, congrats on the baby news if I haven't said so yet! I too read this with much anticipation as it was recommended by a patron with similar reading tastes to mine. However, unlike you, I was disappointed. After talking with co-workers, we deduced that it probably had much to do with the audio vs. print versions. I listened to it as did a colleague and we were both disappointed with the reader. My friend actually chose to finish it in print. Those that read it tended to like it. Nevertheless, a heartbreaking account of foot binding and plight of women of that era....I enjoy your blog. Best, Lorie P.S. No book blog for me yet, just this one: redhotknitters.blogspot.com

mishareads said...

Good to hear from you and thanks for the congrats! Also big thanks for your blog--I am getting back into knitting and need some inspiration!

PS--Tell me what you're reading.