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Extended Audio Sample Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel Audiobook, by Lisa See Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (154,913 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa See Narrator: Jodi Long Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9780739319826
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Lily is haunted by memories–of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness.

In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, 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 lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 2/15/2014

    " I found this book fascinating, if it at times made me cringe with the graphic descriptions of things like foot binding. I had only read Chinese historical fiction written by Amy Tan before, and only thought they were ok, but I was pleasantly surprised by Lisa See's story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caiti | 2/9/2014

    " The best book I've read in over a year. It is a story about friendship and relationships, growing up not only physically, but intellectually maturing. It is a story about women that is beautifully written, and exposes the reader to Chinese traditions that are no longer practiced, such as foot binding. I found it hard to put down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie Christensen | 1/21/2014

    " Re-reading this right now for my book club... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer Zuccaro | 1/16/2014

    " I think the reason i didn't really like the majority of this book was because i found almost all of the characters to be extremely annoying. The only part of this book that i genuinely liked was the very end of it. That was what saved it for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 OrangePekoe | 1/8/2014

    " Another book club book. Don't really feel in the mood for going into detail right now, but I really liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karin | 1/3/2014

    " This is an amazing historical novel. I was totally enraptured by the characters and the traditions as well as the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 12/27/2013

    " I enjoyed learning about their customs and traditions and am thankful that I live in a time and country that women are valued for more than the ability to produce sons. What hasn't changed is how we hurt the ones we love especially when we make assumptions without having all the facts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lee | 12/16/2013

    " An all time favorite. The story, characters and culture transported me! The story both fascinated me and broke my heart. I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 12/14/2013

    " great read...although the thought of foot binding and being seen as nothing within society is beyond my comprehension I found that this book was a lovely story of friendship and love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nat | 12/12/2013

    " Liked it. Specially enjoyed the close ups to rural chinese culture and family traditions. Reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie Lucas | 11/1/2013

    " I loved learning about their culture and who doesn't like a book about good friendships? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Silvia Neves | 10/25/2013

    " The audiobokk was excellet. I truly enjoyed this story of frienship and life in China. I called my attention to the suffering of women who had their feet binded. I think high heels is also a terrible practice that women still follow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 8/10/2013

    " Learned a lot about this subject. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara Tubbs | 8/10/2013

    " loved it. quick and interesting "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesa | 8/4/2013

    " This book was interesting and makes me thankful for the time and place I was born. The movie is nothing like the book. I was so frustrated with the movie I turned it off. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Mcmahon | 6/25/2013

    " Excellent book about the bond women share as they struggle to overcome the harsh realities of life for women in 19th-century China. Well researched and beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kiely | 1/31/2013

    " LOVED. Seriously loved - couldn't put it down "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle | 1/3/2013

    " I think I was disturbed by the description near the start about foot binding. Although an interesting story of a different culture, time and place, I didn't feel the author really developed the characters well so I often found it dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy M | 12/28/2012

    " It was the story-telling, not the plot, that made me love this book so much. Wonderful insight to ancient Chinese culture. I really enjoyed the characters, and it was an emotional read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 12/9/2012

    " I loved this sweet story except for the foot binding. I think I will never understand maiming ones body for what? Was it really attractive? How functional was it to hobble around on jacked up feet? That aside, the friendship between Snow Flower and Lily was one to aspire to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arielle | 8/15/2012

    " Beautifully written, very engaging and a mesmerizing story! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Marsico | 7/10/2012

    " I think this is one of those love it or hate it books. I loved how it was written "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 7/6/2012

    " This is one of those books that has really charming moments like the conversations that occur between two best friends (old sames), and it also has some painful moments such as the binding of young children's feet as was the custom long ago in China. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 4/13/2012

    " I'm thinking I like historical fiction... this was a quick read (less than two days even with two under 4). An interesting tale of friendship and such captivating characters and culture. I am so thankful to not be part of a footbinding culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 3/10/2012

    " Interesting read, mostly as a study of culture and friendship-- a book that introduces so many ideas that it lingers in the mind after you finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tori | 2/16/2012

    " Great from a historical perspective, sometimes lacking in the entertainment aspect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annette Cook | 12/18/2011

    " I may be doing this book a disservice by only giving it 4 stars. It was a great story about friendship and support. However, the generally sad tone of the book and descriptions of the horrors of foot-binding, and the condition of women in general left me feeling totally depressed! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen | 10/16/2011

    " This book about a friendship between two women in 19th century China was well written and obviously meticulously researched, but I found it so depressing that I can't give it more than three stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 5/20/2011

    " I thought this book was beautifully written. I want to read "Shanghai Girls" too (which is think is the same author) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 5/20/2011

    " I enjoyed learning about the Chinese culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Soulfulewe | 5/20/2011

    " A small book so powerfully packed. Loved It!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 5/19/2011

    " Very Good book, but also very familiar. Either I have read this book before, or something very very similar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 5/18/2011

    " Parts of it were very hard to read, but also very worthwhile. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 5/17/2011

    " Very interesting book. I'd probably give it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it but found some parts seriously depressing and gruesome. It really was fascinating though! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 5/17/2011

    " Great book about 2 friends who live very different lives but come together "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marissa | 5/17/2011

    " This book is excellent. It is such a well-written, beautiful story that maintains a nice level of suspense the entire time. It ends with a very important lesson. I think all women should read this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/17/2011

    " A wonderful read weaving historcial fiction around the lifetime friendship of two Chinese girls. Another great novel from Lisa See. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anita | 5/13/2011

    " Fiction that speaks to the her-story of foot binding, relationship bongs between women, and traditions in empirical China. Well researched, a great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 5/13/2011

    " Very good stuff; I liked it as well as Memoirs from a Geisha - I'm surprised it's not better known, but maybe it's because there's no movie...very short, but there's a lot packed into it - abrupt at times, but not enough to get irritated about. A story that'll stick with me for awhile... "

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About the Author
Author Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret FanFlower NetThe 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.