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Frog

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The author of Red Sorghum and China’s most revered and controversial novelist returns with his first major publication since winning the Nobel Prize

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.

“A rich and troubling epic—and a very human story... hauntingly inventive.”—The New York Times

"Mo Yan brings back the hallucinatory realism for which he’s known...[Frog is] another display of Mo Yan’s attractively daring approach to fiction. The Nobel committee chose wisely."—The Washington Post

“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

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

"Mo Yan’s Frog is a raw, vivid and chaotic story...the novel is a major full-length work with big ideas on a highly sensitive subject...Readers may at times flinch and wish to look away. But regardless of his politics, admirers of Mr. Mo’s earlier literary offspring are likely to be equally joyful that he brought this one to term.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Goldblatt’s translation is inviting, while Yan’s tale deftly explores the human toll of national policy and historical forces.”—Publishers Weekly

“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. And you really get a sense of how China and rural Northern Gaomi (Yan's hometown) have changed, almost beyond description, from Maoist times to the current hyper-capitalistic phase.”—Independent (UK)

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