Lisa See is known for her novels, many of which reflect her
Chinese-American upbringing. Born in Paris in 1955, See grew up in the
Chinatown neighbourhood of Los Angeles. Her mother is also a novelist
whose autobiography details much of See’s childhood.
See began writing for magazines such as Vogue, Self, and Publishers
Weekly, among others, after she graduated from Loyola Marymount
University in 1979. It would only be after nearly twenty years of
working as a writer that she would publish her first book.
That book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My
Chinese-American Family, was published in 1995. It followed the history
of her great-grandfather, and is a portrait of the changes the family
saw through immigration from China to America.
While working on On Gold Mountain, See came up with the idea for her
first novel. Flower Net was published in 1997, and was the first part of
See’s Red Princess mystery series. The additional titles of the series,
The Interior and Dragon Bones, were published in 1999 and 2003,
respectively. Flower Net also earned See a nomination for an Edgar award
for best first novel.
See has written novels that are set in historical China, including
2007’s Peony in Love. Her 2009 novel, Shanghai Girls, was a look at the
struggle of Chinese-American women during the 1950s.
See’s writing has earned her praise for their representations of Chinese
women. She is also active in the Chinatown community in Los Angeles.