Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Book Pdf ePub

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

by
4.06305,641 votes • 16,351 reviews
Published 21 Feb 2006
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.pdf
Format Paperback
Pages269
Edition110
Publisher Random House
ISBN 0812968069
ISBN139780812968064
Languageeng



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.

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" Reviews

K
- The United States
1
Mon, 26 Mar 2007

My review from Amazon (back in the days before I discovered goodreads!) -- I read this several years ago, but felt compelled to start a literary argument with my sister when I heard she actually liked this book. ;)
"The Secret Life of Bees" meets "Women of the Silk"
I'm getting a little tired of the "female friendship" genre that seems to pervade contemporary literature these days. While there are some better-written examples of this category, many of them seem to be written with the agenda of extolling the virtues and possibilities of close female friendship, perhaps as an alternative to traditional romance novels. Often, I feel that these authors are so anxious to idealize the close bond between two women that they spend less time actually allowing this bond to develop in a convincing way. Their characters remain underdeveloped as well, leaving the reader with an overdone, unconvincing, and ultimately shallow story line.
This book is no exception. The writing is not bad, and the historical/cultural context lends some interest to what would otherwise be a truly boring novel. However, the characters were hollow and their friendship, and subsequent estrangement, left me cold. I was so unenamored that I found myself wondering at the authenticity of the historical setting -- how accepted were these ritualized female friendships, and did they really take precedence over the marital bond at times (e.g., a wife sharing a bed with her visiting sworn sister as opposed to her husband)? I don't claim to be an expert on this period of Chinese history, but it seemed inconsistent with the little I know of the inferior status of women at this time and place. Given the author's general agenda, I couldn't help but wonder how many of the contextual details she colored in order to serve her purpose. Perhaps this may be excused by poetic license, but if it had been a better book, I would probably not be engaging in this cynical line of thought. The really good historical novels I've read were so convincing that it did not occur to me to question their authenticity.
In the title of my review I mentioned two similar novels which, if crossed, would result in this story. Both of those novels fall into the category of overdone, agenda-driven female fiction. Perhaps this comes from an effort to appeal to the middle-aged female audience, who probably represents a large percentage of the contemporary fiction market.

ياسمين
- alexandria, Egypt
5
Mon, 16 May 2016


جوهر الادب الاسيوي يفتح براعمه وينشر عبقه في هذا العمل الذي اقل ما يقل عنه انه تحفة فنية لن تتكرر
لطالما كانت تعاني النساء وماتزال وسنزال نعاني حتى نهاية هذا الكون ولكن معانة النساء في الصين فتلك الحقبة السوادء فاقت كل التوقعات
هذه الرواية تتحدث عن عدو المرأة الحقيقي...المرأة الاخرى....التي تقبل عليها المهانة وتصعد فوق معاناتها...هذه الاسطورة الرقيقة التي تصف معاناة الزواج التقليدي...معاني الصداقة..مرورا بدهاليز ضيقة وسرية للمجتمع لم نكن لنستطيع الوصول اليها او الا معانيها في الف كتاب تاريخ
حين تصير قدم المرأة هي رمز جمالها! فتتكسر عظام الفتيات الصغار لانهم يربطون اقدامهم عند النمو فقط ليستطعن تزويجهن فيما بعد!
نماذج:
لم اقرأ في حياتي شيئا مثيرا للشفقة والسخرية ولكنها رمز لتفاهة مقاييس الجمال التي تكبل المرأة في كل العصور!
الرواية تحكي عن عجوز ثمانينية عاشت في عصر لا يمكن وصفه بالكلمات...اثقلها الندم في نهاية حياتها فكتبت بلغة النوشو القديمة التي كانت لغة نسائية تنفس بها النساء في هذا العصر عن معاناتهم من مجتمع الرجال فيما بينهم...لغة سرية تسجل على المراوح والورقيات وهذه نماذج منها:
كتبت زهرة الزنبق عن صديقتها بالقسم زهرة الثلج...البشرية الاقرب لقلبها على الاطلاق...كيف نمت صداقتهم وكيف عانتا سويا وكيف كان الزمن رحميا مع بطلتنا وظالما مع الاخرى...وكيف كان يسير نهر الاحزان من الاولى الى الاخرى ليصب في قلبيهما تعلقا لا فصام فيه انتقل الى الابناء والاحفاد..
من خلاله تصف مراحل النضج...طبقات المجتمع وكيف تنظر كل طبقة الى اخرى...كيف كانت تتحكم الخاطبات باهل الفتيات وبمصير سعادة وتعاسة النساء والرجال على حد سواء...كيف كان يتم الاختيار بناءا على صفات عجيبة جدا..
اريد ان اشير الى ان هذه الرواية تحمل انسانية ولحظات حقيقية تكفي بحر الحياة كلها...بكيت فيها كما لم ابكي في عمل ادبي...اريد ان اضع هذا العمل في عين كل انسان تسول له نفسه ان يقلل من كتابات النساء ويقول انها كتابات قاصرة او تافهة...اعطني اسم رجل يستطيع ان يكتب مثل هذه التحفة الفنية ويلمس اعمق نقطة في قلبك بهذا الشكل وبتلك السلاسة والبساطة
فهي تحكي ابشع كوابيسك بشكل يجعلك تشعر ان هذه هي الحياة ولا مناص منها...بحروف بسيطة تنقل لك اعظم الخبرات...اسلوب ر اقي مؤثر بدون تكلف او لف او دوران...الرواية ستحبس انفاسك واتحدى من يستطيع ان يقفز سطرا وهو يقرأ صفحاتها
بل اتحدى القارئ ان ينتبه حتى الى الساعة فلقد فاتتني عدة مواعيد على مدار الايام التي قرأت فيها هذا العمل
وادعو الجميع لمشاهدة الفيلم snow flower and the secret fan المأخوذ عن الرواية فهو اكثر من رائع
عمل لا يستحق القراءة فقط بل يستحق التخليد
مقتطفات رائعة:

Lisa
- San Francisco, CA
4
Wed, 19 Mar 2008

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 the 1800s and is more about the inner lives of the women than the men.
I had a complete misconception of what foot binding entailed. It’s completely different, and so much more brutal a practice than I ever could have imagined. There were also many examples given of what I consider other horrendous customs and beliefs. I’ve always believed that tradition and culture that harms is not worth preserving and reading about these people’s lives was a painful experience. The story is fiction but well researched so I’m assuming there was much truth about how women led their lives in that time and place.
I was able to feel some empathy for the storywriter, because I could understand her longing to be loved and the difficulties she had in her upbringing that formed her personality, even though I sometimes had a hard time liking her and many of the characters. I was also irritated by so much of the book. I loathe stories where there’s a horrible miscommunication or misunderstanding that seems so unnecessary, and there’s an example of that here. Also, throughout the book, the narrator is writing the story of her life for another/others in her culture to read, yet the whole time I felt she was educating us in our time & places. So frequently the line “as you know” or “as everyone knows” is used to start a sentence, and I just kept thinking that if everyone knows it the narrator wouldn’t need to say it in that way. The narrator also most of the way through the book alludes to something she’s going to tell the reader and it got to the point where, instead of following along with the story, I just wanted to see what she was going to reveal.
I think that it’s worth it to read the paperback copy because of Lisa See’s notes at the end about the writing of this book,. Perhaps they were there in the hardcover version as well, but often additions such as this aren’t there at publication of the hardcover edition. Also, the paperback has some discussion questions at the end which might come in handy as I read this book for my book club.
The plot & characters did make me think about however women are regarded and what is considered beautiful in various cultures, including our own, can powerfully influence women’s lives. And they also highlight how our various expectations of ourselves and others imposed by our societies can influence human beings. It also made me think a lot about the corrosive power of unresolved anger and trauma.

Erin
- The United States
0
Wed, 08 Aug 2007

uuughughghghghg ugh ugh ugh.
i can't read about foot binding anymore. it literally makes me sick to my stomach. this is mostly due to a 15 minute video displayed twice every hour in a small missionary museum in new mexico.
the sole purpose of this museum, for reasons i still can't
explain, was to display unusual world practices encountered by missionaries around the globe, throughout history. my parents, wishing to enliven and culture my young and spongelike brain, (and also having nothing else to entertain me with as the entire state of new mexico is boring as all get out to drive through and so damn hot you can't even sit on the grass at the rest stops) set me free in this twisted little house for 2 hours when i was eight.
it was full of fun things, like pictures of kayan woman proudly displaying their neck rings, and the perfume pouches french royalty wore to ward off fleas and lice, and examples of poisoned darts that papa new guinea tribes used to hunt down white explorers in the 1700's... yay!
And it also had this little dark room, with cute little chairs just my size, and teensy little brocade shoes just outside the entrance. and everybody loves teensy shoes, people. do you blame me for being fascinated?
the guy in the video, however, scary. he was fat, balding, and holding a little model of a foot's skeleton just the size of my own. he used this to show how a woman's foot would be wrapped in anceint china, to press the ball of the foot towards the heel. and then he actually pressed. slowly. until the bones snapped and the ball and heel were touching.
and then someone in the production process must have decided this wasn't realistic enough, so they had this cute little asian-girl actress come out and demonstrate, through blurry lens shots and muted screams, what this procedure might have felt like. when they found me later i was hypnotized, sitting with my feet tucked under my butt clutching the toes of my tennis shoes.
now, like many of you goodreads devotees, i had an overactive imagination as a child. i spent a good deal of time after that experience imaging what i would do if i grew up in that time period. you know, how i would escape. because of course i had to escape. can you imagine what that would feel like? but people would find me! and hold me down! or the emperor would catch me and chop off my head! there was no escape! lots of girls would have to do it! or did it! augh! it must have been HORRIBLE for them! HORRIBLE! AUGHHH!
...consequently, i decided that to make myself feel better about the 50 majillion little asian girls a long time ago, i would just pretend that foot binding never happened. just, like, stick to american girl novels and the occasional "dear america" journal (medieval europe only though) till i was 12. or, you know, longer. and that's worked out pretty good for me, until this book.
ms. see does a pretty amazing job resurrecting all those horribly emphatic feelings. her characters are fleshed out so well that it's hard not to see and feel through them. and even though the story is beautiful, there's a lot of history in there to see and feel. This is not like "Sex and the Zhejiang Province", or those awesome soap operas out of Shanghai recently where everybody runs around an ancient chinese palace set waving fans and giggling and pouring tea and crying and having babies and being banished and what not.
Every main character in "Snow Flower" pretty much gets crapped upon continuously throughout their lives until they get too old to negotiate their way higher on the social food chain and just sit back and let their grandkids take care of them. Or you know, die. (NOT A SPOILER! Don't even try.)
which is basically awesome. definitely my kind of realistic, historical novel. i'm just warning everybody... don't wiki it. don't. you don't need to see the x-rays. because they're gonna stick with you, in tiny little grotesque foot nightmares. and you'll be stuck, for the rest of the book, pretending foot binding means everyone got to wear pretty tube socks in bright colors.

Sara
- Midlothian, IL
3
Fri, 15 Jun 2007

Ever since reading Memoirs of a Geisha, I've been looking for a book that will let me relive that excitement. So I was hoping that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan would fit the bill for my craving for Asian drama :)
I would have to say that this book did not. I found it difficult to get invested in the characters who seemed somewhat flat to me. The narrator wasn't engaging enough to make me feel a connection to her. Really, the strength of the book in my opinion was the detail it spent in developing an understanding of the cultural issues surrounding Chinese women and the custom of footbinding. Which, of course, is horrible mutilation to a woman living in the 21st century Western world, but was the very epitome of beauty and sexual turn-on for 19th century Chinese. So I would say it gets an A+ for effectively fleshing out that cultural way of life, but probably just a "B-" for characters. I wanted to care more about them than I did, but when the book was over, I was more interested in Googling pictures of bound feet than mourning the loss of their friendship and the misunderstandings that undid the two main characters.

Moses
- Nairobi, 05, Kenya
5
Mon, 19 Dec 2011

Brilliant. A spectacular book.
I haven’t read anything this deeply affecting for quite a while {at least on the level of love and relationships}. I was hooked from the beginning. And the grace and depth of Lisa See’s storytelling had me contemplating about life and the deeds and the choices we make concerning our own lives, those that are made on our behalf and how all these affects those who we most cherish. Fate. Is it something nature, or us, or others, or some higher power design for us? Is it really predestined, as these girls were made to believe?
Ever since that first message that Snow Flower send little Lily, when they were just children, the stage was set for what was meant to be a lifetime of friendship. As events unfold, as life happens, an absolutely heartbreaking and unforgettable story is woven. It also reminded me of Adichie’s the danger of a single story – given that I recently read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, where I was first introduced to the Chinese practice of foot binding. From what I’ve gathered from this book, it loosely equates to Female Genital Mutilation, which until recently has been widely practiced here in Africa. And what a cruel thing it is – girls so young stand the risk of actually dying in the process, like happened to Lily’s sister. Lisa, however, goes beyond this, which she has offered in an heartfelt detail, to other aspects of the Chinese culture – especially those that of concern to women.
Quite fascinating is the issue of nu shu, one of the central themes, which is described as the women’s secret writing. Under all that isolation and oppression that these women suffered, it is a wonderful thing that they invented a secret code/language/writting in which they could communicate in secret, offer and share comfort.
Lisa See’s narrative is beautiful, and from the writing itself you may discern a depth that arises not only from research and writing talent, but from the heart of a writer who knows the matters of the heart. From her’s to all others that will come across this wonderfully crafted, deeply felt work of fiction.
It is an amazing lesson on friendship too, and of course – that deep heart love.

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