A story of adjustment, acceptance, and belonging emerges from the settings of Red China and contemporary Mapleton, Ontario. Lily, a young immigrant, is trying to make it on her own - and succeeding in her own way. Through Lily's challenging relationship with her mother and with the vibrant and quirky Chinese community in Mapleton, we witness unexpected changes and challenges as she copes with her new environment and the transformation of her spirit and soul. Lily in the Snow provides a unique perspective on the universal tale of intergenerational conflict and explores the Chinese immigrant experience in Canada with humour and insight.
Yan is a bilingual author, writing in both English and Chinese. Her English stories started to appear in newspapers and magazines in China in 1985. Her first English novel, Daughter's of the Red Land, was published in Toronto in 1995. It was a finalist for Books in Canada's First Novel Award. Yan was also the winner of Woman of the Year in Literature/Arts/History in 1996 awarded at the Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. In 2002, Yan was the winner of the Honorable Overseas Chinese Writer Prize issued by The Chinese Literature and Arts Association in Taiwan. Her books in Chinese include "Married to the West Wind", published in Hong Kong in 1998, and in Beijing in 2000, "The Lambs of Mapleton-- A collection of stories", published in Shanghai in 2008, "The Living White House", published in Beijing in 1988. Yan has been the Vice-president of the Chinese Pen Society of Canada since 2003.
Set in contemporary Ontario, Lily in the Snow tells the story of a young Chinese journalist who immigrates to Canada with high hopes but finds life in her adopted country far from easy. Through the eyes of her mother, Grace, we come to understand how hard it is for the generation who was brought up during the Cultural Revolution to understand and adapt to modern Western ways. Canada may be the homeland of Mao's hero, Dr. Norman Bethune, but Lily soon discovers that Bethune's name is barely recognized here. Many people in the ex-patriot Chinese community seek order and direction in the evangelical Christian churches and Lily, with sharp perception and gentle humour, introduces the reader to a strong cast of immigrant characters, each with their own rich history. Central to the story is the often troubled relationship between Lily and Grace. Wide gaps exist in their expectations and views on childrearing but the author treats both mother and daughter with great tenderness and empathy as they struggle to fulfill their dreams. — Jenny Kitson, Editor and Co-Director of the Eden Mills Writers Festival