Lisa See

The author of Shanghai Girls shares three favorite novels.

Lisa See In her novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See captured a lost world of women’s writing in 19th century China, while her memoir On Gold Mountain distilled her family’s centry-long journey from Asia to America. Her book Shanghai Girls brings to life the glamour and drama of that great city in the shadow of World War II. The author recommends three books of special significance for her.

Books by Lisa See


Angle of Repose

By Wallace Stegner

“A line in this book seems to sum up my writing and my life. ‘Fooling around in the papers my grandparents, especially my grandmother, left behind, I get glimpses of lives close to mine, related to mine in ways I recognize but don’t completely understand. I’d like to live in their clothes a while…'”


The Handyman

By Carolyn See

“This is not only my favorite of my mother’s books but also one of my all-time favorite books. In this novel, my mom writes about a young man who is spending the summer before art school working as a handyman in Los Angeles. In the process, he finds his artistic voice and learns what it is to be an artist. This novel comes closest to that journey of discovery—of finding your purpose as an artist—of any book I’ve ever read.”


The Age of Dreaming

By Nina Revoyr

“This book opens with a debonair Japanese man living in Los Angeles in the 1960s—a once-famous silent film actor. Nina paints an amazing portrait of the silent film era, Los Angeles, and the strictures and lasting effects of prejudice. It’s also a fabulous mystery! I gave this book to my dad and he loved it. I gave it to my mom and she loved it. (Their tastes couldn’t be more different.) Everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it. Consider this an undiscovered treat.”

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