Book Review - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

For the February, 2007 Book Club we read an amazing book about Chinese women in the late 19th century. The story centers around two girls - Lily, the second daughter of a poor, farming family and Snow Flower, the only child of a middle-class bureaucrat's family. We follow their arranged friendship from early childhood through marriage and old age.

Things that I liked the most were the crisp, almost terse prose and the sense of "calmness" of the writing. The voice of the narrator was almost elegant and somewhat languid in pace but it was never boring. I also have to give her tremendous credit for keeping this book short. We could have spent at least another 150 - 200 pages hearing about the trials, tribulations and life experiences of these two women, but the entire book was kept to a slim 288 pages. A very quick read - and very satisfying.

I would definitely recommend this book, in particular for anyone that's about to get on an airplane or take a short vacation. Also a great weekend book. Build up that fire and get reading.

Next month is The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. I'll be pulling out my illustrated manuscript!

Book Details:

Title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Author: Lisa See
ISBN: 0812968069
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2006