Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men.

As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared 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 deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Title:Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Edition Language:English
ISBN:null
Format Type:

    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Reviews

  • Jeana

    Wow. I just finished this book and wanted to come write about it immediately so I don't forget how it made me feel. First off, the language is beautiful and so fitting for the context. The two girls--...

  • Erika

    I had high hopes for this book, but ended up feeling deflated and disappointed. Two aspects of the book were interesting: descriptions of the practice of Chinese footbinding, and an exploration of 'nu...

  • Cassy

    My grandmother used to say that my big feet meant I had a “good foundation.” I’d stare longingly at her size-six feet when she said this and curse my genetic inheritance from elsewhere in the fa...

  • Candi

    "For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me – as a girl and later as a woman – to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every ...

  • Dem

    A book is a magical thing, that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair. Quote by Katrina Mayer. This week I have time travelled to nineteenth-century China, 1970s Tex...

  • Petra X living life blissfully,not through books!

    I tried to read it. It was so non-compelling, who were these little mice of women, what were they up to, why should I care? MAKE ME CARE. The plot didn't, the characters didn't and so I couldn't get p...

  • Michele

    An Excellent Choice for Book Clubs I had a hard time putting down this book and felt utterly transported to a village in the Hunan province in central south China during the early to mid-nineteenth ce...

  • Cecily

    Read and reviewed in 2008. Review updated in 2020 - without rereading the book - to focus on "secret" languages.This is a first person tale of a Chinese girl in mid the 19th century. It's a poignant s...

  • Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    I ended up enjoying this book because it was so beautifully written and it took me deep into a world so unlike my own; thank goodness for that! This story takes place in China’s Hunan Province in th...

  • Rowena

    This has got to be one of the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking books that I have ever read. The subject matter is horrific but the story is truly engaging.The main storyline in this book is about the...