It’s the kind of powerful blockbuster we expect from him – a glimpse into an unknown China, as alien and provocative as good science fiction. It opens in 1960 in a village where all newborn children are named after body parts. We watch a classroom of 35 starving students discover that they can actually eat coal. But the novel becomes almost surrealistic when it gets to China’s all-too-real, viciously enforced one-child policy. And as usual, Mo Yan shows all sides.
by Mo Yan
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WANT A SECOND CHILD? THAT’S A CRIME!
Indomitable Aunt Gugu, employing new Western medicine, is the township’s first professional midwife. As director of the health center’s obstetrics department, she delivers over 10,000 babies. But she’s also the enforcer of the Party’s one-child policy, and responsible for over 2,000 involuntary abortions. When her nephew’s lovely wife refuses to abort her second pregnancy, Aunt Gugu swears to uphold the Party policy.
The plot of FROG is a slow-motion narrative explosion, moving an entire district of characters through decades of change and reversal. It’s gleefully crammed full of family betrayals and escape tunnels, frog attacks and stolen sperm, intercepted love letters and speedboat pursuits by abortion doctors. It all comes together in a bullfrog farm where surrogate mothers provide a way to beat the one-child rule.
It’s a big, challenging portrait of a brilliant woman obstetrician who makes some horrible State-driven choices while dedicating her life to her community.
Come discuss the book with us!
Nick’s Book Club
UNIVERSITY BOOK STORE
4326 University Way NE
The Bookstore Café
Monday, February 23, 6 pm
Here’s hoping to see some of you this coming Monday evening to discuss Camilleri’s operatic historical disaster novel, THE BREWER OF PRESTON. Wishing you all health in this flu season, time with your loved ones, and always, ALWAYS a good book close at hand! — Nick