Book Club Kit: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret FanSnow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
First Published: 2005
10 Copies & Reading Guide

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.

Reading Guides:
Reading Group Guides – Includes Brief Reviews and Discussion Questions
Author’s Website – Includes Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “2 Women Cling in a Culture of Bound Feed” by Janet Maslin
USA Today – “Snow Flower Unfolds Secrets” by Susan Kelly

On the Web:
Lisa See’s Website –
NPR – “Painful Memories for China’s Footbinding Survivors” by Louisa Lim
BBC – In Pictures: 19th Century China

If you enjoyed Snow Flower… see the movie coming out in July 2011:

You also might like to read:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
The Good Earth (Book Club Kit) by Pearl S. Buck

More from Lisa See:
Peony in Love
Shanghai Girls
Coming Soon: Dreams of Joy – continuing the story of Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls

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