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New Event: April Meetup East Side - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

From: Greg
Sent on: Monday, April 30, 2007 1:30 PM
Announcing a new event for a ne{o}lit book club!

What: April Meetup East Side - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, Round 2

When: Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 PM

Voluntary Event fee: USD1.00 per person

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Event Description: Yep! Same book for the East Side. We've been trying the two books a month thing, and it's been rough trying to get both books in. So for May, we'll stick with one, because holy crap is there a lot to talk about with this one.

I'm nearly done with the captivating and thought provoking novel. I can't remember the last book that I read that had me doing internet research because I was so interested in the concepts and experiences detailed in the story.

And to give you a taste of the future and contradict my earlier statement:

Last month we did two books, for May we'll do just one. June, we'll do 6 or 7.

Confuzzled? With the impending July release of the final Harry Potter book, members have been discussing for months that we should have a recap meetup for the first six books. This'll happen in June. I may schedule another book as well, for those members that aren't into these (fantastic) novels. A more traditional book club book. And then in July, we'll do one for the new Harry Potter. So if you've been dying to go over your favorite parts, argue about which is the best one (the second one, there is actually no argument) and discuss your theories - here's your chance to do it over drinks and food.

For May though - it's still:


From The Washington Post's Book World/
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, an old woman fainted in a rural train station. While trying to identify her, authorities found scraps of paper with writing they had never seen, leading them to think she was a spy. But scholars identified the script as nu shu, a writing that had been used exclusively by women for over a thousand years in a remote area of southern Hunan province. Nu shu was different from conventional Chinese script in that it was phonetic and its interpretation was based on context. Years later when author Lisa See became aware of nu shu, her discovery turned into an obsession, resulting in her fourth novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Written in the style of a memoir, the book is narrated by 80-year-old Lily Yi as she looks back on her life. Her story begins in 1828 in her village of Puwei in southwestern China. Her father is a hardworking, respected farmer. As in all traditional Chinese families, sons are revered and daughters are seen as temporary obligations, to be passed on to other families at the time of marriage. Even at age 5, Lily, the third daughter in a family of five children, understands her position.

But everything changes on the day the village diviner arrives to help her mother choose a propitious date for Lily and her cousin to begin having their feet bound. The diviner declares that Lily is no ordinary child. A special matchmaker announces that Lily's feet have particularly high arches and, if properly bound, could be shaped into golden lilies -- those highly coveted tiny, perfect feet that might be their key to prosperity. "Fate -- in the form of your daughter -- has brought you an opportunity," the matchmaker says. "If Mother does her job properly, this insignificant girl could marry into a family in Tongkou." Thus in one day, Lily's position in her family changes -- she remains a commodity, but one that now needs to be nurtured so that the family can realize her full value.

Later the matchmaker also suggests to Lily's mother a laotung match for her daughter, a relationship with a girl from the best village in the county. She is the same age as Lily, and their friendship is meant to last a lifetime, being perhaps even more profound than marriage itself. This match would signal to her future family that Lily is not only a woman with perfect golden lilies but also one who has proved her loyalty. When Lily meets her laotung, Snow Flower, she is given a fan with a secret message written in nu shu script inside.

So begins a correspondence between Lily and her new friend in nu shu -- a language considered by men to be of little importance because it belonged to the realm of women. But for Lily and Snow Flower it provides an opening for expressing and sharing their hopes and fears in lives that are otherwise powerless, repressed and bound by rigid social conventions. In the years that follow, Lily teaches Snow Flower the domestic arts of cooking and cleaning, while Snow Flower teaches Lily the more refined arts of weaving and calligraphy. Their bond also deepens during the extended visits Snow Flower makes to Lily's home.

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