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.
About the Author
Lisa See is the author of Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com From the Hardcover edition.
“Powerfully alive, unfolding like a waking dream, haunting, magical, and absolutely impossible to forget.” –The Boston Globe
“Both heartbreaking and heartbreakingly lovely . . . immerses the reader in an unimagined world . . . The characters and their surroundings come vibrantly alive.” –The Denver Post
“A provocative and affecting portrait.” –Chicago Tribune
“A marvel of imagination . . . so mesmerizing the pages float away and the story remains clearly before us from beginning to end.” –Amy Tan, author of Saving Fish from Drowning
“Riveting . . . a story that informs as it charms.” –The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Extraordinary . . . breathtaking.” –Baltimore Sun
“Magical, haunting fiction. Beautiful.” –Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Fifth Book of Peace
“[See’s] best book yet . . . a beautifully drawn portrait of female friendship and power.” –The Seattle Times
“An engrossing and completely convincing portrayal of a woman shaped by suffering forced upon her from her earliest years, and of the friendship that helps her to survive.” –Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha