Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

  • by Lisa See
  • Narrated by Janet Song
  • 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 19th-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu ("women's writing"). With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Enter an oppressed world of supposed beauty

Moving story and insights into of the hierarchy, paternalism and culture of foot-bound Yao women in 19th Century Hunan, China. We learn about the role of women in the women's areas, their toil and devotion to their families, their sisterhood and devotion to one another... Beautifully and movingly written but ultimately non-confrontational about a system of gendered violence that sacrifices the interests of women and girls. Amidst the violence a special bond between two women - "laotongs" "old sames"...

This fascinating story highlights the brutality not only of foot-binding but of unequal social structures, of war and its impact on communities, and on women's solidarity with one another. It draws attention to the development of a unique women's only language - nushu - a beautiful and delicate, but somewhat limited, script used to convey hardship, sorrow and solidarity between women.

Moving, sad, beautifully told.
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- Anthony

fascinating insight into a different world

Any additional comments?

I had heard about foot binding, but I had no idea how brutal the practice was, and it is at the heart of this story about the friendship of 2 young girls from very different Chinese families, both with perfect 'golden lilies'. A truly fascinating tale, quite horrifying at times, desperately sad in places. I just wish I had opted to read it rather than listen to it. There are good reasons why the narrative voice might sound like an elderly woman who is tired of life and deeply depressed by the mistakes she has made in her long life, but it really doesn't make for a good listen.

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- Vivienne F

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2012
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd