A Powerfully Emotional Story of Friendship and Betrayal
Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a deeply personal look into the lifelong friendship of two nineteenth-century Chinese women--a friendship that began when they were paired together as laotongs or ‘old sames’, what we might refer to as ‘soul sisters’. Lily and Snow Flower send messages back and forth, written in the secret women’s language of nu shu. Hidden in the folds of a fan or on delicate handkerchiefs, the messages linked these two women together in a friendship that was more powerful than a marriage.
Through the decades, Lily, the narrator, suffers many hardships and challenges. At the early age of seven, she and her laotong endure the common practice of footbinding. The author paints a vivid picture of this ancient torture, used to determine a girl’s worth--especially regarding marriage. Lily and Snow Flower are bound by ritual and by their growing friendship and reliance on one another. And then something happens that rips at the core of their friendship.
Betrayal, misunderstandings and anger lead to hurt feelings and separation. Forgiveness is needed. But can these women learn to forgive and let go of old pain? Or will they let their lifelong friendship die?
This wonderful, loving and tragic story of friendship and betrayal will teach the reader much about Chinese traditions. The stunning description of the lands, the sights and smells, paints vivid images upon the reader’s mind. But it is the loving friendship of Lily and Snow Flower that will grip your heart and fill it with yearning to have a laotong of your own. What a powerful and emotional story!
Check out Lisa See's website at www.lisasee.com
~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of The River, Divine Intervention and Whale Song (ISBN: 978-1-60164-007-9 available April 2007 from Kunati Books)