Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $4.46 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Snow Flower and the Secre... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel Paperback – Unabridged, February 21, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,448 customer reviews

See all 52 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, Unabridged
"Please retry"
$11.54
$1.99 $0.01

The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton
"The Muse" by Jessie Burton
From the author of The Miniaturist comes the story of two young women—one in 1960s London and one in 1930s Spain—and the mystery that links them together. Learn more | See related books
$11.54 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
  • +
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Revised Edition
Total price: $22.07
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace"), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province ("My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see"). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Lily at 80 reflects on her life, beginning with her daughter days in 19th-century rural China. Foot-binding was practiced by all but the poorest families, and the graphic descriptions of it are not for the fainthearted. Yet women had nu shu, their own secret language. At the instigation of a matchmaker, Lily and Snow Flower, a girl from a larger town and supposedly from a well-connected, wealthy family, become laotong, bound together for life. Even after Lily learns that Snow Flower is not from a better family, even when Lily marries above her and Snow Flower beneath her, they remain close, exchanging nu shu written on a fan. When war comes, Lily is separated from her husband and children. She survives the winter helped by Snow Flower's husband, a lowly butcher, until she is reunited with her family. As the years pass, the women's relationship changes; Lily grows more powerful in her community, bitter, and harder, until at last she breaks her bond with Snow Flower. They are not reunited until Lily tries to make the dying Snow Flower's last days comfortable. Their friendship, and this tale, illustrates the most profound of human emotions: love and hate, self-absorption and devotion, pride and humility, to name just a few. Even though the women's culture and upbringing may be vastly different from readers' own, the life lessons are much the same, and they will be remembered long after the details of this fascinating story are forgotten.–Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812968069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812968064
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,448 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Elizabeth Hendry VINE VOICE on August 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is an engrossing and fascinating story of women's friendships in nineteenth century rural China. This is an excellent, well-written novel--fascinating on so many levels. Lily, the narrator of the novel is in her eighties, looking back on her life. She shares the stories of her foot binding, nu shu, the secret women's writing, and the various formally women's friendships that society enforced. Lily's sister participated in a sworn sisterhood, where a group of young women formed a friendship that was to last until marriage, but Lily is paired with one girl, Snow Flower, her laotong or "old same." Lily and Snow Flower have a love that is stronger than all of her other relationships--and it causes them both more heartbreak. The novel is really the story of their friendship, its depths, its deceits, its strengths--and it is a fascinating read about a society so different from our own. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan reminds me in many ways of The Red Tent in that it explores female friendship in a setting much different than any contemporary one. A fascinating read.
14 Comments 326 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel is surely intended for any reader who likes a compelling, historically-set, moving, suspenseful story. I have been a fan of Lisa See's mysteries, and her sympathies with, and skill in creating characters of both sexes, are apparent in both the mystery plots and the present book.

This plot is beautifully woven, with two women at its center, but there is compassion for both the women and the men in the nineteenth-century Chinese society the author re-creates so vividly. Lisa See obviously LIKES her characters, and she develops some understanding of and compassion for ALL of them. Her natural sensitivity, vast research--including visits and interviews in the remote region she is writing about--make her work fully convincing.

Tender, celebratory, joyous, painful, heart-breaking at times-- this is a memorable, glorious book. After reading it, I found myself thinking more and more about some of the power, motivations, love, violence, and ways of communication in our twenty-first century societies.

I will pass my copy along to a friend or two, but I will say "Be sure to return it."
5 Comments 353 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This 2005 novel is about the friendship between two Chinese women in mid-19th century rural China. What was so wonderful about it was that I actually felt I was part of their world and totally accepted their view of life as my own.

Snow Flower and Lily are friends, but their friendship was not random. When they were only seven years old, a marriage broker arranged a contract in which they agreed to be friends for life. They did not live in the same town and Snow Flower came from a more prosperous family than Lily, but Snow Flower visited Lily often, and learned to do household chores as well as the complicated embroidery that all young Chinese girls did in preparation for their future marriages. Yes, both of these girls, as well as the other girls in their households had bound feet. The pain must have been awful. Yet, it was an accepted part of being a woman in those times, and mothers who wanted their daughters to marry well had to force their young girls to go through the agony.

A woman's world was completely different from the world of men. Their lives were that of isolation. In order to communicate, they actually had a secret written language. This language has been documented and really did exist. It is the only known language in the world to have been developed exclusively by women for women. The two girls would write to each other in this language on a fan which they sent back and forth to each other. Both of them hoped for a bright future.

As the girls grow up we share their experiences of marriage. They didn't meet their husbands until the wedding day. And their function in their new households was only to bear sons. Mothers-in-law were usually hard taskmasters and were always critical of them.
Read more ›
Comment 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The lifelong story of Lily and Snow Flower broke my heart on so many levels. I cried for them as little girls enduring the traditions they were born to. I cried some more as their fates unfolded and it became evident it would not be a happy ever after tale. "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" was an unexpected surprise for me, a great story with twists and turns you might not anticipate. It is fast moving , almost from the first page and by mid book, I wasn't able to put it down. I just had to know what happened and couldn't wait for the ending. Teen girls should read "Snow Flower" to better understand how far women have come since the days of foot binding and arranged marriages. This was an excellent story and I highly recommend it.
Comment 82 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
There are certain books you read that make you really think, "Thank goodness I wasn't living in THAT culture!" Snow Flower and the Secret Fan definitely falls into that category. This story traces the life of Lily, a young farmer's daughter in a very rural area of China, born in 1823.

The book was very well researched, and does do its best to explain that while this life was not as free as modern culture is for women, it was in some ways "not as awful" as it could have been. Lily explains that in some areas of China, women were worked brutally hard, treated like pack animals. In her region, women were treasured. You might think this is a great thing :) However, by treasured, this meant they were isolated in a room with lattice windows, so that some light would get in but they could not be seen. This kept them safe - but trapped. To make matters worse, their beauty was determined by how tiny their feet were. This isn't just the tiny-waist of a corset. Young girls actually had their feet broken and squished, over a period of 2 years, so that an adult woman had a foot about the size of a thumb. All that was left of the foot was one big toe to balance on. It meant their gait was slow and delicate. In essence, they could never run away - and they could barely walk around to do minor chores - cooking, cleaning.

So on one hand, this was a very restricted life for women. They were hidden away in an isolated room, and their broken feet were tiny and barely functional. On the other hand, a hard-working peasant woman might look on this as the life of luxury. Why couldn't *She* laze away in peace and quiet, doing embroidery and weaving? Why couldn't *She* have the excuse of tiny feet instead of slaving in the hot sun all day doing field work?
Read more ›
6 Comments 100 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel