Frog is a richly complex new novel about China’s one-child policy by Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012. Gugu is beautiful, charismatic and of an unimpeachable political background. A respected midwife, she combines modern medical knowledge with a healer’s touch to save the lives of village women and their babies. After a disastrous love affair with a defector leaves Gugu reeling, she throws herself zealously into enforcing China’s draconian new family-planning policy by any means necessary, be it forced sterilizations or late-term abortions. Tragically, her blind devotion to the Party line spares no one, not her own family, not even herself. Once beloved, Gugu becomes the living incarnation of a reviled social policy violently at odds with deeply-rooted social values. Spanning the pre-revolutionary era and the country’s modern-day consumer society, Mo Yan’s taut and engrossing examination of Chinese life will be read for generations to come. ‘Mo Yan deserves a place in world literature. His voice will find its way into the heart of the reader, just as Kundera and Garcia Marquez have’ Amy Tan’One of China’s leading writers . . . his work rings with refreshing authenticity’ Time’His idiom has the spiralling invention of much world literature of a high order, from Vargas Llosa to Rushdie’Observer
Translated by Howard Goldblatt
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