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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A book all women should read
I liked the female narrator of this book. Often if I was to read lau ton or phrases like this used due to the book being based in China I would struggle to pronounce them properly. I throughly enjoyed the book and felt it envoked emotion.
SPOILER # When Lily visits snowflowers home. Things are not always what they seem!
I tend to skip over songs in my head but this was a nice part of the audio book.
Sisiterhood is the bedrock of our society.
Snowflower and Lily are Lao ton- sworn sisters for life who's relationships comes above men, other women and children. The book vividly describes the foot binding rituals the girls go through to honour their families and try to get the smallest feet in the county. Lily's feet are special which allows her to climb societies social ladder. She is paired with the prestigous Snowflower and they exchange skills of embroidary, cooking, cleaning and Nu Shu.
Nu Shu is an ancient chineese language used soley by women to communicate in private. More primative than chineese writing Nu Shu is an intriguing language which uses context far more than english. Symbols are written between Snowflower & Lily on their secret fan to depict their lives together each time they meet.
There can be no sequel to this book as it tells not only the story of two young girls from their daughter days as children to their sitting quietly days as old sames, waiting for the afterlife to come and take them. The book talks intimately and openly about strong female relationships and our book group felt many of the themes were relevant to everyday society.
How long do you expect to keep a friend for? What happens at different stages of your life? How are women viewed from youth to being aged.
The book describes many fascintating rituals from 19th century China that take place in mourning, death, sealing of fates and preparing for the afterlife.
The book inspires a visit to China to learn more about its history and current state.
There is a film made of this book that I intend to watch and I hope it provokes the same heartfelt emotions as the book
Enter an oppressed world of supposed beauty