PRAISE FOR SNOWFLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN 'Lisa See has written her best book yet Achingly beautiful' Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club 'Only the best novelists can do what Lisa See has done, to bring to life not only a character but an entire culture' Arthur Golden, author of Memoir of a Geisha PRAISE FOR PEONY IN LOVE 'See's writing beguiled me A brave, brilliant book' Guardian 'A hauntingly beautiful novel of unrequited love' She
It's 1938 and the exclusive Oriental nightclub in San Francisco's Forbidden City is holding auditions for showgirls. In the dark, scandalous glamour of the club, three girls from very different backgrounds stumble into each other lives.
All the girls have secrets. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family which has deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese.
Then, in a heartbeat, everything changes. The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and paranoia, suspicion, and a shocking act of betrayal, threaten to destroy their lives.
Lily is the daughter of a humble farmer in Yongming County, and to her family is just another mouth to feed until she can be married off. But when she is six years old she is brought before the ambitious local matchmaker who delivers some startling news: Lily is no ordinary girl. If they are bound properly, her feet will be flawless. In nineteenth-century China, where a woman's eligibility is judged by the shape and size of her feet, this is extraordinarily good luck. Lily now has the power to make a good marriage and change the fortunes of her family.But first she must undergo the agonies of footbinding, learn nu shu, the famed secret women's writing, and make a very special friend. A girl will be chosen as her 'old-same' which is a relationship almost akin to marriage and treated with as much seriousness.Her 'old-same', Snow Flower, is a wonder to Lily. She comes from a refined family and is elegant, educated, but cannot suppress her adventurous streak. Even though their worlds are far apart and they rarely see one another, the two girls develop a deep bond through their letters written in nu shu which they paint on fans and embroider on handkerchiefs. As the years go by, Lily and Snow Flower share the burden of being born female in feudal China and find comfort in their friendship until they come of age to be married. But a bitter reversal of fortune is about to change everything.Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a story of two extraordinary women surviving in a time of strict rules and ancient customs. With the eye of a historian and the vibrancy of a true storyteller, Lisa See has written a truly mesmerizing novel filled with colour, fascinating detail and heartfelt drama.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa See's Shanghai Girls.
I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.
For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.
Peonys mother is against her daughter s attending the production: Unmarried girls should not be seen in public. But Peony s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a caveand is immediately overcome with emotion.
So begins Peonys unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrowas Lisa Sees haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.
Steepd in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and placeeven the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa Sees new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
Nineteen-year-old Joy Louie has run away from her home in 1950s America to start a new life in China. Idealistic and unafraid, she believes that Chairman Mao is on the side of the people, despite what her family keeps telling her. How can she trust them, when she has just learned that her parents have lied to her for her whole life, that her mother Pearl is really her aunt and that her real father is a famous artist who has been living in China all these years?
Joy arrives in Green Dragon Village, where families live in crowded, windowless huts and eke out a meagre existence from the red soil. And where a handsome young comrade catches her eye. Meanwhile, Pearl returns to China to bring her daughter home - if she can. For Mao has launched his Great Leap Forward, and each passing season brings ever greater hardship to cities and rural communes alike. Joy must rely on her skill as a painter and Pearl must use her contacts from her decadent childhood in 1930s Shanghai to find a way to safety, and a chance of joy for them both.
Haunting, passionate and heartbreakingly real, this is the unforgettable new novel by the internationally acclaimed Lisa See.