Snow Flower & The Secret Fan is a book about the exquisite pain, maneuvering for power and the friendships that are created in the upper room behind the lattice window of a Chinese home in the 1820's...
Lily narrates this book about her early life from the time that she walked a long the river bank with her older brother and the cool river water ran over her feet... to the time when she meets her laotong and signs the contract of friendship that will last her entire life... to the time when she and her laotong have their feet bound and broken to become golden lilies... to the time when she makes grave errors in her fidelity and empathy with her friend... to the time when she makes great efforts to forgive and redeem herself from her mistakes.
The book shows how easily we can dismiss the suffering of another and even how hard it is too see and to empathize from a place of relative comfort. It is about the emotional violence that those who truly love each other still commit against those the beloved without feeling or seeing the hurt that is caused.
Beautiful prose that tells a story of great suffering from a place of dignity rather than pity. Snow Flower would approve.