Books by Lisa See

THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 19, 2019

"Although this novel's reach exceeds its grasp, it is a necessary book."
On an island off the South Korean coast, an ancient guild of women divers reckons with the depredations of modernity from 1938 to 2008 in See's (The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, 2017, etc.) latest novel. Read full book review >
THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 21, 2017

"Still, a riveting exercise in fictional anthropology."
A woman from the Akha tribe of China's Yunnan province becomes a tea entrepreneur as her daughter grows up in California. Read full book review >
CHINA DOLLS by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 3, 2014

"Still, a welcome spotlight on an overlooked segment of showbiz history."
See's latest follows three Asian-American showgirls whose dreams are derailed then reset by the onset of World War II. Read full book review >
DREAMS OF JOY by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 31, 2011

"Although the ending betrays See's roots in genre fiction, this is a riveting, meticulously researched depiction of one of the world's worst human-engineered catastrophes."
In this sequel to See's bestselling Shanghai Girls (2009, etc.), a daughter's flight leads to further family upheavals against the backdrop of Mao Tse-Tung's Great Leap Forward. Read full book review >
SHANGHAI GIRLS by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2009

"The close suggests See's next setting may be the People's Republic, a development sure to please her readership."
Two sisters escape war-ravaged Shanghai, only to face discrimination and the threat of deportation in the United States. Read full book review >
PEONY IN LOVE by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 3, 2007

"See's gossamer weave of cultural detail and Chinese afterlife mythology forms an improbably inspiring tapestry of love and letters."
Foot-binding, opera and anorexia are feminist statements in See's (Snowflower and the Secret Fan, 2005, etc.) ghost story set in 17th-century China. Read full book review >
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 2005

"A keenly imagined journey into the women's quarters. "
A nuanced exploration of women's friendship and women's writing in a remote corner of Imperial China. Read full book review >
DRAGON BONES by Lisa See
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 27, 2003

"Moderately engaging whodunit that becomes whocaresaboutit before the end."
A Chinese police inspector and her American lawyer husband venture up the Yangtze River to investigate murder and corruption. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

Despite some unanswered questions, a copiously researched history and a page-turning read. Fong See, the author's Chinese great-grandfather, came to the US as a teenager in 1871. Lisa See's first book takes us through his marriage to a white woman, Letticie Pruett; decades as a Californian entrepreneur (initially selling underwear to prostitutes, later becoming a renowned dealer of rare Chinese antiques); subsequent marriages to much younger Chinese women; 12 children; and numerous trips back to China. The family personalities come alive in See's historythe Prohibition-era alcoholics, the lonely white women who married See men, Letticie's refusal to be a traditionally obedient Chinese wife (though in many ways she identified with Chinese people, once explaining to a white visitor why ``we'' do not like to be called ``Chinamen''), and Fong See's Eurasian sons, whose ``exotic'' looks helped them become dashing Los Angeles playboys. See also provides admirable historical context, always taking stock of political developments in both the US and China and explaining how they might have affected her family. Using interviews, government records, newspaper clippings, and sales slips, among other documents, See has constructed an absorbing multigenerational family saga. The narrative is marred only by a tendency to push the boundaries of fictionalization. All biographers have to do some guesswork, but See at times frustrates by not telling us how much of her account is speculation. For instance, in the chapter on actress Anna May Wong, dubiously titled ``Anna May Speaks (From the Grave),'' it is clear that See has made up Wong's words, but her sourcing doesn't reveal how much she knows about the real Anna May's thoughts and feelings. Fact/fiction ambiguities aside, an invaluable document of immigrant experience that raises complex questions about identity in American culture. (Author tour) Read full book review >