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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday 2nd May, 2012 - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (chosen by He)

Set in 19th Century China, the book is about a lifelong friendship between two friends.

  • Easy read
  • Interesting content
  • It took us into another world, time and place

Two were away today.  Almost all who read the book loved the story. One did not like it, hating some of the characters and feeling that it was terribly depressing, living at a time when women were doomed to suffer silently.  The majority felt that it is a book that offers so much to the reader, especially an insight into the secret world of women in China at that time.

We had a marvellous discussion; There was so much to discuss that we eventually ran out of time and had to stop.  The links below are both interesting and useful.

We discussed:
  • The Author, Lisa See
  • Nu Shu
  • Women and what was expected of them at that time
  • Compared the characters Snow Flower and Lilly
  • The idea of having sworn sisters
  • Was the escape into the mountains believable?
  • Foot binding  - We looked at these foot binding images from Lisa See's website
  • The descriptive passages on food in the story, food that one could almost taste. (Lisa See's website has the recipe for Fried Taro) The food mentioned in the book is based on the authors own experiences which is possibly why it is so beautifully described.
  • The movie  Only one of us has seen it and she recommends it. There is a clip on Lisa See talking about the book and movie in this link.

We digressed to:
  • Typhoid and how it is spread.
  • After Typhoid, ... scenes from The Painted Veil (based on the book by W Somerset Maugham) sprung to mind. It is set in China in the 1920's when the cholera epidemic broke out.
  • Cooking pork and how it should never be eaten rare.
  • Pigs, wild pigs, Aussie pigs, wandering pigs seen in countries around the world, what pigs eat, and some mentioned rather personal unmentionable experiences that they had with pigs in different parts of the world.
  • We missed the two members of our group who were away today.  
  • Peony in Love - another book by Lisa See that one of us had started to read. This one is set in 16th Century China and has nothing to do with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It explores the different types of love that a woman experiences.
  • A quick mention of the existence of Qing Dynasty manuals which have 48 different things to do with bound feet  :) 
  • Unicorn Road by Martin Davies, (author of The Conjurer's Bird) a book inspired by nu shu. A couple of us are interested in reading this book for it sounds fascinating.  Link to video of Martin Davies talking about Unicorn Road

Lotus Shoes - See link below (is there a link between high heels today and  these ancient shoes?) 

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