WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
'That dark-skinned boy with the superhuman ability to suffer and a superhuman degree of sensitivity represents the soul of my entire fictional output. Not one of all the fictional characters I've created since then is as close to my soul as he is.' Mo Yan, 2012 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
'Pungent, potent, absurd, moving, and alive, this early Mo Yan novella carries his unmistakable stamp. Survival is ignoble, and power blunt, but glimpses of the transcendent are possible: Radish captures the human condition with aching force.' Gish Jen, author of Mona in the Promised Land
“Si China tuviera un Kafka, sería Mo Yan”, Publishers Weekly.
“La obra de Mo Yan es una de las más creativas y originales de nuestros días”, Fernando Pastrano, ABC.
“Este es uno de los premios Nobel mejor concedidos y merecidos, de esos que tapan errores o concesiones cometidos en otro tiempo”, J.M Guelbenzu, El País.
“Realidad, sueño, y sátira conviven en la obra del narrador, un friso magistral de la China del último siglo y sus desafíos”, Miguel Lorenci, La Razón.
“Mo Yan es un autor que se encuentra entre la tradición china y la occidental, entre una literatura de la parábola y una literatura realista. Es, sobre todo, uno de los grandes novelistas de hoy en día”, Le Monde.
His passion for writing shaped by his own experience of almost unimaginable poverty as a child, Mo Yan uses his talent to expose the harsh abuses of an oppressive society. In these stories he writes of those who suffer, physically and spiritually, under its yoke: the newly unemployed factory worker who hits upon an ingenious financial opportunity; two former lovers revisiting their passion fleetingly before returning to their spouses; young couples willing to pay for a place to share their love in private; the abandoned baby brought home by a soldier to his unsympathetic wife; the impoverished child who must subsist on a diet of iron and steel; the young bride willing to go to any length to escape an odious, arranged marriage. Never didactic, Mo’s fiction ranges from tragedy to wicked satire, rage to whimsy, magical fable to harsh realism, from impassioned pleas on behalf of struggling workers to paeans to romantic love.
Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman who risks her life to save several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is picturesque, bawdy, shocking, and imaginative. The structure draws on the essentials of classical Chinese formalism and injects them with extraordinarily raw and surprising prose. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. Now in a beautifully bound collectors edition, this stunning novel is Mo Yan’s searing vision of twentieth-century China.
Interspersed throughout the narrative—and Ding's faltering investigation—are letters sent to Mo Yan by one Li Yidou, a doctoral candidate in Liquor Studies and an aspiring writer. Each letter contains a story that Li would like the renowned author's help in getting published. However, Li's tales, each more fantastic and malevolent than the last, soon begin alarmingly to resemble the story of Ding's continuing travails in Liquorland. Peopled by extraordinary characters—a dwarf, a scaly demon, a troupe of plump, delectable boys raised in captivity, a cookery teacher who primes her students with monstrous recipes—Mo Yan's revolutionary tour de force reaffirms his reputation as a writer of world standing. Wild, bawdy, politically explosive, and subversive, The Republic of Wine is both mesmerizing and exhilarating, proving that no repressive regime can stifle true creative imagination.
The prisoners languish in horrifying conditions in their cells, with only their strength of character and thoughts of their loved ones to save them from madness. Meanwhile, a blind minstrel incites the masses to take the law into their own hands, and a riot of apocalyptic proportions follows with savage and unforgettable consequences. The Garlic Ballads is a powerful vision of life under the heel of an inflexible and uncaring government. It is also a delicate story of love between man and woman, father and child, friend and friend—and the struggle to maintain that love despite overwhelming obstacles.
Ambientada en una zona rural de la provincia de Shangdong, El clan del sorgo rojo arranca con la invasión japonesa de los años treinta, y cuenta, a lo largo de cuatro décadas de la historia de China, la conmovedora historia de tres generaciones de una familia.
Mo Yan seduce al lector con las desventuras del comandante Yu y de la joven Jiu'er, una chica obligada a casarse con el hombre que su padre ha dispuesto: un viejo leproso muy rico, que posee una destilería. El sorgo, utilizado como ingrediente de un potente vino, era en tiempos de paz centro y símbolo de la vida campesina. En tiempos de guerra se convierte en el centro de la lucha por la supervivencia.
La novela, una auténtica leyenda en China, inspiró la película del mismo título dirigida por Zhang Yimou, que fue nominada a los Oscar y que acompaña a esta edición.