Goodreads Summary: 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.
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My views: I am finally done with 11 long hours of listening and I am still reeling from the aftertaste the book has left in my mouth. Heart wrenching yet appealing. Oh!
Right from the beginning, the book held me steadfast. The story of a 80 year old reminiscing about her life, and such an interesting one at that. I inhaled the smell of China, its history, foot-binding procedure and many other obligations one has to go through as a woman in China.
But my favorite part and character was Snow Flower – the journey of a beautiful 8 year old girl who talked a lot, spoke her mind and tried to tweak the traditions a bit to a place in time when she grew timid, subordinating to the needs of her husband and mother-in-law.
The book recounts a heart warming tale of the friendship of Snow Flower and Lily (the narrator), their upbringing, intimate moments, misunderstandings and their life in general.
The book holds you with its writing, its innocence and the vast knowledge of China and its traditions.
The first half was really good, the second half was a little pale in comparison to the first but that maybe because the book is long. Nevertheless, it was a really good book. Good enough that I want to recommend it to everyone and good enough that I may re-read it after some years.