Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Random House Reader's Circle Deluxe Reading Group Edition): A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

This new deluxe eBook edition of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan features more than fifty additional pages of exclusive, author-approved annotations throughout the text to enrich your reading experience. You can access the eBook annotations with a simple click or tap on your eReader via the convenient links. Access them as you read the novel or as supplemental material after finishing the entire story. There is also Random House Reader’s Circle ...
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Random House Reader's Circle Deluxe Reading Group Edition): A Novel

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Overview

This new deluxe eBook edition of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan features more than fifty additional pages of exclusive, author-approved annotations throughout the text to enrich your reading experience. You can access the eBook annotations with a simple click or tap on your eReader via the convenient links. Access them as you read the novel or as supplemental material after finishing the entire story. There is also Random House Reader’s Circle bonus content, sure to inspire discussion at book clubs everywhere.
 
In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See takes us on a journey back to a captivating era of Chinese history and delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.
 
In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “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 has written 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 the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679644590
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/12/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 34,118
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Lisa See

Lisa See is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dreams of Joy, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, 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.

Biography

At first glance, Lisa See would not seem to be a likely candidate for literary voice of Chinese-American women. With her flaming red hair and freckled complexion, she hardly adheres to any stereotypical conceptions of what an Asian-American woman should look like, however, her familial background has given her roots in Chinese culture that have fueled her eloquent, elegant, and exciting body of work.

See grew up in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles. Although she is only 1/8 Chinese, her upbringing provided her with a powerful connection to that fraction of herself. "I really grew up in this very traditional, old Chinese family," she revealed in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "It was very traditional, but also quite magical in a lot of ways, because I really was in a very different culture then how I looked."

See's Chinese background was not the only aspect of her family that affected the course her life has taken. She also comes from a long line of writers and novelists. Her somewhat morose relatives initially led her to believe that writing must be the result of suffering and pain, which turned her off from literary pursuits at first. Ironically, despite her strong family roots, See only decided to try her hand at writing as a means of embarking on a lifestyle without roots. "I knew three things," See said, "I never wanted to get married, I never wanted to have children, and I only wanted to live out of a suitcase. How am I gonna do it? And I was really thinking about it, and then one morning, I woke up, and it was truly like a light bulb went off—‘Oh, I could be a writer!' Many, many years later, here I am, married, I have children, [and] I am a writer."

In the wake of this unexpected epiphany, Lisa See began work on her first book On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family. This highly detailed family history charted the events that led her great-grandfather Fong See to become the godfather of her Chinatown neighborhood and the 100-year-old patriarch of her family. See interviewed close to 100 of her relatives while researching the book that both gave her a clearer portrait of how her racially mixed family developed and broke her into the publishing business.

See then went on to explore other aspects of both Chinese and American culture via fiction. She followed her debut with a series of popular political thrillers set in China and featuring American attorney David Stark. Her novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan abandons Stark and his pursuit of justice for the time being with a tale that reaches much further back into Chinese culture, and more specifically, the subordinate role women have traditionally played in that culture. This more personal novel scored See accolades from The Washington Post, The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, and The School Library Journal, while also further solidifying her role as a significant Chinese-American writer. And See's Peony in Love (2007) is a jarring historical novel set against the backdrop of an early-17th-century Chinese opera

See's position in the Chinese-American community has also extended beyond her writing. She was honored by the Organization of Chinese American Women as National Woman of the Year in 2001 and is also responsible for designing a walking tour of her Chinatown home in L.A. Her devotion to that apparently-small, but actually-vast, 1/8 of her ethnicity proves that well-worn adage about never judging a book by looking at its cover.

Good To Know

In our interview, See shared lots of fun facts and anecdotes about herself, including:

"I asked my husband what he thought was an interesting fact about me, and he said that he always thought it was strange that when we first met I had to drink three cups of coffee before I got out of bed, but that after I got pregnant I never ever had another cup of coffee again. That didn't seem terribly exciting, so I asked my sister. She said that I take perverse pleasure in grossing people out, which I do. But this didn't seem very interesting either. I asked my mother and she remembered that I'd been a demon crawler and had once crawled away from the house, down to a busy boulevard, and was rescued by a couple of barbers. So I was a demon crawler and probably took ten years off my mother's life that day, but was it a fun fact? I've even asked some other people and they all have talked about my desire to travel and the scary places I have traveled alone. While I know that I'm a compulsive traveler, a lot of other people love to travel, so it still doesn't seem that unusual to me."

"I never wanted to be a writer. My mother and my grandfather were both writers. When I was a kid, they both took the position that writing was about suffering and pain, so you can see why I didn't want to be a writer. There came a time when I was about twenty and living in Greece, and I knew three things: I didn't want to get married, I didn't want to have children, and I only wanted to live out of a suitcase. But how was I going to support myself and how was this ever going to happen? One morning I woke up and it was like a light bulb went off: ‘Ah, I could be a writer.' Within twenty-four hours of returning back to the States I had my first two magazine assignments. But if you've been reading this at all closely, you know that I got married and had children. And thank God, because I would have been a pretty boring person and not a very good writer if I didn't have those three people in my life. But I still do love to live out of a suitcase and have been writing most of these answers on a plane from Shanghai to San Francisco."

"I think one of the strangest things about me is the way I read books. This dates back to when I started reading chapter books as a kid and continues to this day. I read the first 20 pages, then the last 20 pages. After that, the second 20 pages and the penultimate 20 pages. I read from front to back and from back to front until I meet in the middle. Why? I can't stand not knowing what happens to the characters. Will they be okay? Will they live? Will they get together? It doesn't take away from the suspense or ruin the story for me in any way. Not doing it would ruin the story because I would have to rush and I'd be so anxious that I wouldn't be able to do anything else until I was done."

"I'm a movie fanatic. I see more than 100 movies a year. Sometimes I'll see two or three movies in a day. Between this and reading books the way I do, I have a very good sense of plot. I can watch the first five minutes of any television show and the first ten minutes of just about any movie and tell you everything that will happen. It's very rare that I'm taken by complete surprise. But to me it isn't about the surprise. I'm just curious to see how things have been structured, if the right clues have been doled out, and if the right people will get together."

"I like to eat, but I don't like to cook. I'll eat anything and have—a low point would have to be the stir-fried pig penis in China—but there are only three things I won't eat: lima beans, brains, and kidneys. I hate exercise, but I love to play tennis, walk, and hike. I love stories in any form: film, books, song, and TV. Yes, I'm a real couch potato! I'm a nut for reality shows like ‘Survivor' and ‘American Idol.' My three favorite shows this season are ‘The OC,' ‘Lost,'and ‘Battlestar Gallactica.' And I'm a not-so-closet Trekkie. (Yes, I've even been to Star Trek conventions, but I blame that on my sons.) For so long I would say I hated sci-fi, and then I finally realized that it was one of my favorite genres. Go figure. My favorite way to unwind? That would have to be sleeping, hands down. I love to sleep and I take it very seriously. We recently got a Tempur-Pedic mattress and it's my favorite purchase ever. I long to go to bed and feel enveloped."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Paris, France
    1. Education:
      B.A., Loyola Marymount University, 1979
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Favorite novel

    The plot was intense and packed with amazing historical rural Chinese information. It was also delicate and heart wrenching. I have now read all of Lisa See s novels but this was very special to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Loss for words on how wonderful this book is.

    A novel of two girls bound together in china for their lifetime of happiness, heartache, weakness, and strength, love and hate. Using the secret language of women to share their lives. This book is phenomenal!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Heart warming and engaging until the end!

    This story is a tale of two women that live in the nineteenth century in china. They become what is known as each other’s loatongs. This means that they become soul best friends for their lifetime. They write each other on a secret fan in what was known as nu shu, which was an only women’s code. They exchange stories of life, and not only share accomplishments, but also build each other up through their experiences. They come from very different social classes and are able to teach each other of the different ways of life. They develop a bond that is broken and then rekindled at the end, in order to keep their spirits and friendships alive.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    Great Book. Love this author. She writes in a way that you really feel the story- the happiness and the pain of the characters. Great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Rarely do I get so engaged with characters as I did with these t

    Rarely do I get so engaged with characters as I did with these two young girls. The story takes place in 19th century China and was very historically interesting, but the characters were phenomenal. I could not put the book down. I literally sobbed the last 40 pages as the two women come full circle. In my TOP 10 forever!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Fantastic book!

    Oh my! This is one of my favorite books! I learned so much even though is a work of fiction. I have respect for an author who has spent time and effort to really learn her subject. Lisa See impressed me with this novel. I will definitely read her others. A definite book club book with much to talk about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Outstanding story that draws the reader in from the very first page.

    This book is a wonderful choice for a book club; book club questions are provided to assist with discussion at a book club, too. The book is a quick read; I didn't want to put the book down. The reader feels a part of these women's lives; happiness, sadness, tragedy and aging. It is a story of a live long bond of friendship. I felt as if I personally had lost two friends when the book ended. A read that is well worth every minute. A bonus is the author's explanation of the research she did to authenticate this story. I can't wait to read the sequel book "Shanghai Girls".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Wonderful book!

    A beautifully writen story that strikes the heart deep. It felt as though i had been there watching the everything unfold and the characters were so real. This book will have a permanet place on my favorite books list and its a story i will never forget.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    *****

    One of my favorites!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Good book.

    I found the story very interesting, but I didn't care for how it was written. I'm assuming since the author was writing the story in first person from an elderly, naive Chinese woman that she was trying to keep the writing in the same tone. The way the story read you would have thought a child wrote it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Toching

    Read this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Wonderful story

    I loved this book, it made me want to follow Lisa See works.

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    Posted February 19, 2012

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    Posted June 27, 2013

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    Posted December 17, 2011

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    Posted October 3, 2014

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    Posted December 20, 2011

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    Posted November 20, 2012

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    Posted December 27, 2011

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    Posted August 15, 2013

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