Set in 19th century China, this novel tells the tale of a girl named Lily, who is paired with a laotong (“old same”) named Snow Flower. A girl’s relationship with her laotong is even more important than her relationship with her husband, and they are expected to be best friends for life. Often forced to communicate in a secret language written on fans, the two girls grow very close, despite their differences and the challenges that face them as they grow up together. When a misunderstanding arises and danger descends upon them, their loyalty to each other is tested. Will their friendship survive?
Join Lulan Yu, Adult Programs Coordinator, and Maggie Allbee, VMFA’s Reference Librarian, for this look at Chinese art and culture.