See, Lisa


Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

8 Books


En una remota provincia de China, las mujeres crearon hace siglos un lenguaje secreto para comunicarse libremente entre sí, el nu shu. Aisladas en sus casas y sometidas a la férrea autoridad masculina, el nu shu era su única vía de escape. Mediante sus mensajes, escritos o bordados en telas, abanicos y otros objetos, daban testimonio de un mundo tan sofisticado como implacable. El año 2002, Lisa See viajó a la provincia de Huan, cuna de esta milenaria escritura fonética, para estudiarla en profundidad. Su prolongada estancia le permitió recoger testimonios de mujeres que la conocían, así como de la última hablante de nu shu, la nonagenaria Yang Huanyi. A partir de aquellas investigaciones. concibió esta conmovedora historia sobre la amistad entre dos mujeres. Lirio Blanco y Flor de Nieve. Como prueba de su buena estrella, la pequeña Lirio Blanco, hija de una humilde familia de campesinos, será hermanada con Flor de Nieve, de muy diferente ascendencia social. En una ceremonia ancestral, ambas se convierten en laotong ??mi otro yo? o ?alma gemela??, un vínculo que perdurará toda la vida. Así pues, a lo largo de los años. Lirio Blanco y Flor de Nieve se comunicarán gracias a este lenguaje secreto, compartiendo sus más íntimos pensamientos y emociones, y consolándose de las penalidades del matrimonio y la maternidad. El nu shu las mantendrá unidas, hasta que un error de interpretación amenazará con truncar su profunda amistad...


Corre el año 1937 cuando Shanghai está considerada el París del continente asiático. En la sofisticada y opulenta ciudad, donde conviven mendigos, millonarios, gángsters, jugadores y artistas, la vida sonríe a las hermanas Pearl y May Chin, hijas de un acaudalado hombre de negocios. De temperamentos casi opuestos, las dos son hermosas y jóvenes, y pese haber sido criadas en el seno de una familia de viejos valores tradicionales, viven con la sola preocupación de asimilar todo lo que llega de Occidente. Visten a la última moda y posan para los artistas publicitarios, que ven en el retrato de las dos hermanas la proyección de los sueños de prosperidad de todo un país. Pero cuando la fortuna familiar sufre un golpe irreversible, el futuro que aguarda a Pearl y May tiñe sus vidas de una sensación de precariedad e incertidumbre hasta ese momento impensable. Con los bombardeos japoneses a las puertas de la ciudad, las hermanas iniciarán un viaje que marcará sus vidas para siempre, y cuando lleguen a su destino en California, su compleja relación se pondrá de manifiesto: ambas luchan por permanecer unidas, a pesar de los celos y la rivalidad, a la vez que intentan hallar fuerzas para salir adelante en las más que difíciles circunstancias que el destino les depara.


“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.” For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own. Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion. So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed. Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.


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.

149305 Review Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011: See's Dreams of Joy picks up the story of sisters Pearl and May where Shanghai Girls left off: on the night in 1957 when Pearl's daughter, Joy, discovers that May is her true mother. While Shanghai Girls followed the sisters from their time as models in the glittering "Paris of Asia" to their escape from the Japanese invasion and their new life in Los Angeles, its sequel sends Pearl back to Shanghai twenty years later in pursuit of Joy, whose flight to China is propelled by anger, idealism, and a desire to find her true father, Z.G., an artist who may be falling out of favor with the Party. Joy goes with him deep into the countryside to the Green Dragon commune, where they take part in the energetic inception of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. But their collective dream of a communist paradise is soon overshadowed by hunger as the government’s bizarre agricultural mandates create a massive, relentless famine. Pearl, trapped in Shanghai as travel restrictions tighten, has little idea of the hardship Joy endures--until both women realize they must subvert a corrupt system in order to survive. The best estimates put the death toll from China’s Great Leap Forward at 45 million, and See is unflinching in her portrayal of this horrific episode. In clean prose, she gives us a resounding story of human resilience, independent spirits, and the power of the love between mothers and daughters. --_Mari Malcolm_ Review Praise for Dreams of Joy: "See's many readers will be pleased to see the continued development of Pearl and May's relationship. Looks like another hit." -_Publisher's Weekly_, starred review Praise for Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls   “See’s emotional themes are powerful . . . the bonds of sisterhood [and] the psychological journey of becoming an American.”_—The Washington Post_   “If you’re looking for one of those wonderful ‘take me someplace exotic and unfamiliar’ books . . . you won’t do better than Shanghai Girls.”_—The Dallas Morning News_   “Readers truly know and care about these women within a few pages.”_—The Miami Herald_   “A broadly sweeping tale . . . The detail is thoughtful and intricate.”_—The New York Times_   “[See evokes] a time and place with tantalizing detail.”_—San Francisco Chronicle_   “Splendid . . . The story delivers an emotional punch.”—_More_ “[A] moving historical novel.”—_USA Today_   “Compulsively readable.”_—The Denver Post_


When the body of an American archaeologist is found floating in the Yangzi River, Ministry of Public Security agent Liu Hulan and her husband, American attorney David Stark, are dispatched to Site 518 to investigate. As Hulan scrutinizes this death—or is it a murder?—David, on behalf of the National Relics Bureau, tries to discover who has stolen from the site an artifact that may prove to the world China’s claim that it is the oldest uninterrupted civilization on earth. This artifact is not only an object of great monetary value but one that is emblematic of the very soul of China. Everyone—from the Chinese government, to a religious cult, to an unscrupulous American art collector—wants this relic, and some, it seems, may be willing to kill to get it. At stake in this investigation is control of China’s history and national pride, and even stability between China and the United States. The troubled Hulan must overcome her own fears of failure, while David tries desperately to break through the shell that has built up around his wife. As Hulan and David are enmeshed in international schemes for power and the turbulence of their own relationship, these hunters after the truth become the hunted—in a fast-driving narrative set against the backdrop of the building of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest and most expensive project China has undertaken since the Great Wall and the subject of great international debate. It is here, in the heart of the Three Gorges, that David and Hulan will battle their enemies and their own natures to see who will win China’s dragon bones. Dragon Bones combines ancient myth with contemporary anxieties concerning religious fanaticism and terrorism to tell a story of love, betrayal, history, ecology, greed—and gory murder.


In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls. \n **

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