Friday, January 20, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Book Club: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

"A language kept a secret for a thousand years forms the backdrop for an unforgettable novel of two Chinese women whose friendship and love sustains them through their lives.

This novel – takes place in 19th century China when girls had their feet bound, then spent the rest of their lives in seclusion with only a single window from which to see. Illiterate and isolated, they were not expected to think, be creative, or have emotions. But in one remote county, women developed their own secret code, nu shu – "women's writing" – the only gender-based written language to have been found in the world. Some girls were paired as "old-sames" in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their windows to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

An old woman tells of her relationship with her "old-same," their arranged marriages, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood—until a terrible misunderstanding written on their secret fan threatens to tear them apart. With the detail and emotional resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha , Snow Flower and the Secret Fan delves into one of the most mysterious and treasured relationships of all time—female friendship."

That's the blurb I took from the Internet. I enjoyed the book. I liked to get to take a peek inside a culture that was hidden from the world, albeit fictitious. Along with all the cultural Chinese customs like foot binding and "honoring" one's mother in law forever there was the story of two friends. And what was misunderstood as betrayal by one...ended up becoming regret for the remainder of the other's life. Even though it was set 200 years ago...the complex bonds of the friendship of women remains the same.


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