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Publisher Description

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.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa See's Peony in Love.

Fiction & Literature
June 28
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

RomaHealth ,

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

If you are culturally inquisitive and have an interest in the Asian persona, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan opens a new world for the reader. While I thought of this, in many ways as a "women's book", I learned so much from reading it and I am grateful to my wife for recommending it.
The author's style is transcendental and actually puts you in the world of Lily and in a time that Westerners, like myself, have yet to fully comprehend. This is truly an extraordinary work.

AugustLily23 ,

Amazing book

My mom recommended this book to me to read at the beach. I read it in two days!! Great story!! I felt this book in my soul... a must read!

Dylan Iskander ,


It was a privilege to read such a well written, thoroughly researched and achingly beautiful story. This story will stay with me for a long time.

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