Once again I have a book for the Tuesday Teaser! This regular weekly event is hosted by MizB at the Should Be Reading blog, so head on over there and see other people’s teasers.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the procedure by now. You grab the book you’re currently reading, let it fall open to a (more or less) random page, and choose two sentences to quote, that will hopefully tease people into wanting to read the book.
(And I try as much as possible not to cheat, unless it’s absolutely necessary to have more than two sentences for the teaser to be effective. It’s usually not.)
Most importantly, you don’t post spoilers that give away important plot points or the end of the story.
So, without further ado, here is mine for this week:
“A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose – to have sons.” – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, page 43
This is a book about Lily, a woman in mid-19th century China, who recounts the life she led in her village. She talks about her traditional foot-binding at age seven (a truly horrific procedure), the rituals of matchmaking and eventual marriage, and what women’s role was in the society. She also talks about nu shu, the “women’s writing” that was invented in China by women, to be read only by women, so they could express their real thoughts to each other without the knowledge of men.
But woven through it all is the laotong relationship Lily has with another girl, Snow Flower, from age seven onward. This was an officially contracted relationship based on eight criteria, and it made two girls into pen pals and best friends. It was the closest relationship they could have throughout their lives, transcending family and marriage connections.
I’m almost done the book, and have been loving having the chance to find out about these customs and a bit of Chinese history. It’s not the sort of book I’d normally have picked up, but I’m glad I did.