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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,252 ratings  ·  296 reviews
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 th
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published January 22nd 2015 by Viking (first published 2009)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,252 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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In late 1965, the population explosion was a source of considerable pressure on the leadership. As the first family- planning policy in New China peaked, the government proposed: One is good, two is just right, three is too many.

Set in Gaomi Township (Yan's birthplace used figuratively in his novels as China coursing through history ), Frog centers on the life story of Gugu, a rural midwife whose modern medical skills surpassed traditional childbirth practices of the countryside, who gained a
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia
Tutti in Occidente eravamo a conoscenza del programma di controllo delle nascite (un figlio a coppia) in vigore in Cina, lo sapevamo e abbiamo guardato la cosa dal punto di vista razionale. Mo Yan in questo “romanzo” ci sbatte in faccia la realtà del dolore, il dolore straziante e disperato delle donne costrette ad abortire, delle donne che si nascondono ovunque per cercare di sottrarsi a questo obbligo, delle donne che fuggono, che sono inseguite e – una volta raggiunte – vengono sottoposte ad ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wa wa wa -- the frogs croak.

Wah wah wah -- the babies cry.

Tadpole is the narrator. He is writing a letter, which does not seem like a letter, to his Japanese mentor. He writes about his aunt, Gugu, who is revered as a midwife. She is old now. Look around though. You and you and you. It is likely you are one of the ten thousand that Gugu delivered. Head first or feet first. Perhaps you reached your hand out instead. Gugu may have humored your parents and cooked up a potion to make sure you were a
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, borrow, netgalley

What the heck did I just read? I was really enjoying this until the last fifteen percent, then it just got weird. I mean this book is already a little odd, a little bit of an acquired taste but that ending took it to a whole 'notha level. The dialogue in this book is formal and dramatic which strained the “believability” for me a bit, however considering that I have no real knowledge of this culture, especially during that time period that it takes place in, I choose to accept the way of speakin
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 中文
Mo Jenove „Žabe“ su drugi roman ovog pisca koji sam pročitala. Spisateljski stil mu je veoma pitak, što me dovodi do zaključka da je prevodilac ovog romana na srpski uradio izuzetno dobar posao s obzirom da sam čula da na kineskom nije nimalo lak za čitanje. Stoga i ne čudi što je prevodiocu uručena nagrada “Ljubiša Rajić“, koja se uručuje mladim književnim prevodiocima za najbolji prevod prve knjige na srpski jezik. Čitajući recenzije knjige na engleskom jeziku primetila sam da su imena likova ...more
Ilenia Zodiaco
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-books
Il titolo del nuovo romanzo di Mo Yan, Nobel per la Letteratura del 2012, rimanda ad una similitudine tra il vagito dei neonati e il gracidare un po' stonato della rane. Le rane sono anche il simbolo della fertilità, grande metafora che attraversa tutta la narrazione. Il tema controverso della natalità in Cina, soggetta a severe politiche di controllo delle nascite, esplode in tutta la sua violenza e contraddittorietà nel romanzo dello scrittore orientale. Frammentario e controverso infatti è il ...more
First, I owe a debt of gratitude to the GoodReads FirstReads program and to the publisher, who kindly provided an advance copy of Frog for early review. I was eager to read a novel by Mo Yan, who won the Nobel Prize last year. This one, published in 2009, is not new, but is finally being published in the U.S.

Frog spotlights a particularly egregious Chinese policy: the controversial and restrictive one-child policy imposed by the Mao regime. Although the scourge of overpopulation was indeed a ma
Nguyễn Quang Vũ
Liên quan vừa vừa. Đợt rồi nghe nhiều về vụ đẻ đái ... vân vân ... thật choáng. Nói chung là nuôi con nhỏ mình sợ nhất là nói chuyện với hội "thuận tự nhiên" và hội cuồng sữa mẹ. Cơ mà vụ này làm mình nhớ đến chuyện "Ếch" của Mạc Ngôn.

Trong tiếng Hán, "Ếch" là con ếch phát âm là "wa", âm Hán Việt là "oa", cũng đồng âm với "oa" nghĩa là em bé. Mạc Ngôn đã kể lại một câu chuyện giống như một kiểu đại cách mạng văn hóa khác của Trung Quốc, nhưng lần này là trong lĩnh vực sinh đẻ có kế hoạch.

Mạc Ngô
Diane S ☔
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 Tadpole is our narrator, an aspiring playwright, he is telling the story of his Aunt Gugu. Although she started out as a midwife, she is soon trying to prove her loyalty to the party by strictly enforcing Mao's one child policy. This becomes necessary when her loyalty is questioned and she is arrested after her fiancé, a pilot, defected.

Individual responses to the changes in China under Mao, the famine and the one child policy are both horrific to experience. Late term abortions, planting of
This must be one of the first Chinese novels I put my teeth into. So it takes some getting used to the style and atmosphere. But it soon became clear that Mo Yan is a natural storyteller who isn’t afraid of spending a page more to bring his story, or better, his stories. The common thread is the one-child policy that the Chinese Communist Party introduced in the second half of the 1960s to curb the population explosion. By means of concrete characters Yan makes clear to which human dramas this l ...more
Sara Zovko
Roman u epistolarnoj formi priča priču o Kini u razdoblju od pedesetak godina. U tom razdoblju Kina je pretrpjela svašta, od velike nestašice hrane do provođenja politike jednog djeteta. Ova je knjiga sve samo ne obična, tjera čitatelja da propitkuje svoja stajališta (abortus, privrženost stranci i politici...) ali je i prilično konfuzna što se tiče širokog spektra likova i njihovih imena i nadimaka. I onda zadnjih četrdesetak stranica knjige "drama" koju je glavni lik napisao, tu je moja pažnja ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Quite interesting and usually an enjoyable read which focuses on China's one child policy. Would have enjoyed it more, but never really felt any connection to any of the characters. Also, the plot was a bit confusing, mainly because there wasn't really a straight timeline.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro molto interessante che affronta la tematica della limitazione delle nascite imposta dal governo cinese, la cosiddetta politica del figlio unico.
In realtà la mia valutazione oscilla fra le tre e le quattro stelline.
La prima parte del romanzo non mi ha entusiasmata perché l'ho trovata molto lenta. Per di più è ricca di personaggi e sicuramente i nomi cinesi non aiutano nell'identificazione. Quindi molto spesso durante la lettura mi sono trovata spiazzata nel non riuscire a riconoscere un pe
Jan 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Talk about disappointing. Two years ago, when Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature for Frog, Westerners and Chinese were shocked and elated. The Chinese were ecstatic that a Chinese writer won the honor at all (he’s the only Chinese writer who lives in China to have ever won the prize) and Westerners were amazed that the book was “about the one-child policy and forced abortions.” Unfortunately for people who can’t read Chinese, that description was a bit of a misnomer. After waiting two yea ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I temi trattati in quest’opera sono talmente dolorosi da richiedere una serie di filtraggi:
l’autore (Mo Yan), tormentato dal senso di colpa per aver costretto la moglie ad abortire in ossequio alle regole del partito, scrive un libro su un suo alter ego (Girino) che confessa per lettera una analoga storia di pentimento e ne trae infine una rappresentazione teatrale.
Questo processo di sublimazione (storia reale - confessione epistolare - rappresentazione teatrale) libera le mani e la mente di Mo
An interesting story about family planning (i.e. child birth control) in rural China, starting from the early sixties until a few years after 2000.

The book is presented as a series of letters written by Tadpole, a retired military officer, and rising play writer. The letters are to his teacher who he refers to as Sensei. The letters are focused on the life of his aunt Gugu, who started as a talented young doctor/midwife but became the main enforcer of the "one child policy" in the district. As
Helena (Renchi King)
Prvi put čitam kineskog pisca,dobitnika Nobelove nagrade za književnost,2012.godine.
Zapravo,imam neki otklon prema kineskoj književnosti (ili filmovima) zbog neobične i nepoznate kulture,a posebno njihovih imena koja su mi zadavala poprilične muke u ovoj knjizi...(sva su mi bila nekako slična)
Središnji lik,tema, je tetka Wan Xin,pouzdana primalja.
Njezinu priču prati Xiaopao,nećak,odlučivši napisati dramu o njezinom životu (dakle,dramski pisac).
Vremena u Kini su bila vrlo teška,a komunistički rež
• Frannie •
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un Nobel per la letteratura strameritato e forse una delle letture più intense che mi siano capitate quest’anno.

Wan Xin, ovvero “Wan il Cuore”, donna progressista e dal carattere di ferro, è la zia del narratore e l’unica levatrice della zona rurale a nord-est di Gaomi, colei che ha aiutato a partorire migliaia di donne, fino ad apparire nell’immaginario popolare come un’eroica dea della fertilità. A metà degli anni ‘60, però, il governo cinese elabora una nuova politica demografica, che impone
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of the playwright Tadpole and his great aunt Gugu, a gifted midwife who is charged with the task of enforcing the one-child policy of Communist China in her local community, a task which she takes on with a vengeance. As with other books I have read about China, this book presents a discomforting yet fascinating portrait of an oppressive government whose policies have mandated involuntary abortions and forced sterilizations, and of those who become indoctrinated by that ...more
Miloš Kostić
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Politički angažovane knjige i ostala umetnost često umeju da mi idu na nerve. Ne volim taj pristup: "sad ću da ti objasnim", naročito ako mi stavovi autora ne deluju blisko, drugim rečima: kad mi se ne sviđa ono što žele da mi nametnu. Ali to rešavam tako što na problematičan stav gledam kao na samo jedan pogled na stvari. Čitajući razmišljam i manje je bitno da li se slažem - oštrim svoj stav, a ljudi imaju pravo na drugačije mišljenje. Kod "Žaba" mi je takav politički pristup smetao samo delim ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, giveaways, 2014, china
I received Frog as a Goodreads Giveaway.

The topics covered in the novel are intriguing and after a chaotic start, Frog hit its stride briefly with the set up of the narrator’s aunt’s fiancé defecting from China and her disastrous attempt to prove her loyalty to the Party by enforcing China’s one child policy. We’re introduced to themes like mandatory vasectomies and IUD placements, underground surrogates, forced late term abortions and the society’s overwhelming preference for male babies. Howev
Patrizia Galli
Protagonista dell'intenso romanzo di Mo Yan è Wan Xin, donna di straordinaria determinazione e fortissimo senso del dovere. Forte e sola, Wan è la zia del narratore. Per la prima parte della sua vita è un’ostetrica brillante, dotata di uno straordinario talento nel mettere al mondo i bambini. Tutto cambia con gli anni Settanta, quando la politica cinese impone il controllo delle nascite: la legge del 1979 impone un figlio solo a famiglia e Wan Xin userà la sua energia per sopprimere feti di trop ...more
Azita Rassi
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The subject is very serious, but the form is not my cup of tea. I’d have liked a much more in-depth exploration of people’s feelings and reactions to such a complicated issue. As it is, the book presents bold caricatures of its characters, with each of them only having one kind of attitude towards family planning at a certain time, either completely for or completely against. This can be of course the narrator’s perception. As the whole work is from his point of view, and he is not a very insigh ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Frog is the latest novel from contemporary Chinese novelist Mo Yan, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012.

The novel is presented in five parts, with each prefaced by a letter from our narrator, Wan Zu/Xiaopao/Tadpole, an aspiring playright, to his Japanese mentor. Set in a rural community in the Shangdong province of China, the events he relates spans several decades from 1960 to around 2000.

Frog deals largely with the controversial themes of China's one child policy with Tadpole writ
Ivan Damjanović
Roman jednog od dvaju kineskih književnih nobelovaca, Mo Yana (pseudonim, zanimljivo i ironično, uzeo prema kineskom izrazu „Šuti!“ jer je bio brbljav kao dijete pa su ga često ušutkivali).
Kineska inačica magijskog realizma ('magijska' strana nije toliko izražena kod npr. Garcia Marqueza).
Izniman uvid u kineski mentalitet, (ne)civilizaciju i (ne)kulturu 2o. stoljeća obilježenu režimskim ugnjetavanjima i ignorancijom. Kontroverzna tema planskog rađanja /one child policy.
život običnih ljudi, naro
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book for free through First Reads on Goodreads.

It is easy to see the influence of Latin American writers on the author. At times Frog feels almost like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel transported to a different place and time. The novel is primarily framed as an epistolary account of the lives of Tadpole (our narrator) and his aunt Gugu. Tadpole is born as things are changing in his village. The major reform the novel is concerned with is China's infamous one child poli
I couldn't be happier to have "Frog" be my entry point into contemporary Chinese literature. Mo Yan gives an at times brutal account of the real impact of China's one-child policy on rural communities during the late twenty-first century. It is enlightening to see behind the generally benign and optimistic rhetoric. The goals seem noble, but the execution of these policies by local party cadre was at best brutal, at worst outright predatory. This book is a look at the clash between progress and ...more
I'm officially calling it quits with this one. I've been piking it up and putting it back down for over four months now. I think it's just a case of the author's writing style not fitting with my taste. The description grabbed my attention right away. I love historical fiction featuring strong woman who make it even when all the odds are staked against them. I knew we'd hear Gugu's story through her nephew, but I thought her story would be the bulk of the book. Up to 37% (where I'm DNFing), we d ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part of the reason I chose to read this novel was because the outcry around Mo Yan winning the Nobel last year made me mad. It reminded me of what often happens to minority artists in this country: if they don't meet the majority's idea of how they ought to be they're pilloried.

In this case Yan was judged according to a single political standard: our own almost instinctual liberal (i.e., libertarian-tinged) values. That he had been slow to champion the cause of free speech for an imprisoned fel
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in China's one-child policy
Shelves: read-in-german
This is the second novel I read from Mo Yan. I absolutely loved The Republic of Wine (here's my review) and I admit I was hoping for something similar.

The novel is made out of five parts and the fifth one is actually a play. In this case, the novel truly focuses on China's one-child policy. The main character is a delivery nurse and we follow her as the reform takes place, which adds a whole new dimension to her profession: abortions. She does more than following the new laws, but truly and stro
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Modern Chinese author, in the western world most known for his novel Red Sorghum (which was turned into a movie by the same title). Often described as the Chinese Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller.

Mo Yan (莫言) is a pen name and means don't speak. His real name is Guan Moye (simplified Chinese: 管谟业; traditional Chinese: 管謨業; pinyin: Guǎn Móyè).

He has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 for hi
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