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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.

7 Books

Dragon Bones

Written By: See, Lisa

Book Cover of Dragon Bones by See, Lisa

In a magnificent land where myth mixes treacherously with truth, one woman is in charge of telling them apart. Liu Hulan is the Inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security whose tough style rousts wrongdoers and rubs her superiors the wrong way. Now her latest case finds her trapped between her country’s distant past and her own recent history. The case starts at a rally for a controversial cult that ends suddenly in bloodshed, and leads to the apparent murder of an American archaeologist, which officials want to keep quiet. And haunting Hulan’s investigation is the possible theft of ancient dragon bones that might alter the history of civilization itself. Getting to the bottom of ever-spiraling events, Hulan unearths more scandals, confronts more murderers, and revives tragic memories that shake her tormented marriage to its core. In the end, she solves a mystery as big, unruly, and complex as China itself.


Book Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by See, Lisa

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “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 written 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 the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart. Snow Flower and the Secret Fanis a captivating journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. Now in a deluxe paperback edition complete with an expanded Random House Reader’s Circle guide and an exclusive conversation between Lisa See and her mother, fellow writer Carolyn See, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel is, as the Seattle Times says, “a beautifully drawn portrait of female friendship and power.”


Book Cover of Shanghai Girls by See, Lisa

In 1937 Shanghai, the 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 sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a life-changing secret.


Book Cover of Shanghai Girls by See, Lisa

In 1937 Shanghai, the 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 sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a life-changing secret.


China Dolls

Written By: See, Lisa

Book Cover of China Dolls by See, Lisa

The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her immersive storytelling gifts and skill at rendering the layered, intricate relationships of women and the engrossing and complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See's highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls. It's 1938 in San Francisco: a world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition. The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.


Book Cover of Dreams of Joy: A Novel by See, Lisa

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_


The Interior

Written By: See, Lisa

Book Cover of The Interior by See, Lisa

In our world, two years have passed since the publication of Flower Net, Lisa See's debut in thriller fiction, but as The Interior begins, only a few months have passed since Liu Hulan, a detective in Communist China's Ministry of Public Security, and U.S. Attorney David Stark first teamed up to catch a murderer--and rekindled their old love affair. Now, as David struggles to find a way to get back to China--or convince Hulan to move to America--Hulan goes to the village of Da Shui at the request of an old friend whose daughter has been murdered. Initial evidence suggests that it may have something to do with the nearby factory owned by an American toy manufacturer, where hundreds of Chinese women are working in sweatshop conditions. Meanwhile, David's old law firm has suddenly offered him an opportunity to head its new Beijing office, where one of his first duties will be to help one of the firm's corporate clients complete his purchase of the toy company. See's descriptions of daily Chinese life, both in Beijing and the far outposts of the country, are richly detailed. But the novel's even greater strength lies in the contests of will between David and Hulan and their various adversaries--as well as between each other, as Hulan struggles against what she perceives as a threat to her independence, and David must withhold critical information from his partner because it comes from one of his clients. While it certainly helps to have read Flower Net, The Interior is a surefooted exotic thriller in its own right, which will undoubtedly earn Lisa See as many new fans as the old ones it pleases.