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Frog: Book summary and reviews of Frog by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)

Frog

A Novel

by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)

Frog by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator) X
Frog by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2015
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In 2012, the Nobel committee confirmed Mo Yan's position as one of the greatest and most important writers of our time. In his much-anticipated new novel, Mo Yan chronicles the sweeping history of modern China through the lens of the nation's controversial one-child policy.

Frog opens with a playwright nicknamed Tadpole who plans to write about his aunt. In her youth, Gugu - the beautiful daughter of a famous doctor and staunch Communist - is revered for her skill as a midwife. But when her lover defects, Gugu's own loyalty to the Party is questioned. She decides to prove her allegiance by strictly enforcing the one-child policy, keeping tabs on the number of children in the village, and performing abortions on women as many as eight months pregnant.

In sharply personal prose, Mo Yan depicts a world of desperate families, illegal surrogates, forced abortions, and the guilt of those who must enforce the policy. At once illuminating and devastating, it shines a light into the heart of communist China.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Heavily laced with ardent social criticism, mystical symbolism, and historical realism, Mo Yan's potent exploration of China's most personal and intrusive social control programs probes the horrors and pain such policies inflict." - Booklist

"Goldblatt's translation is inviting, while Yan's tale deftly explores the human toll of national policy and historical forces." - Publishers Weekly

"Harrowing, haunting, poignant...Mo Yan proves himself a novelist of the highest calibre." -Financial Times (UK)

"It's an expansive, fascinating cultural-political history. It skilfully blends high farce with social commentary, domestic drama with deeper themes. Much of the novel is funny, much is sad and moving, and Yan effortlessly moves between the two registers." - Independent (UK)

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More Information

Born in 1955, Mo Yan is a native of Shandong. He has written ten novels, a number of novellas, and many short stories. He lives in China.

Howard Goldblatt is widely recognized as one of the best translators from Chinese to English and has received the National Translation Award as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work. He lives in Colorado.

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