by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt - £8.99 Penguin Books Ltd (2015)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780241967324 | ISBN 10: 0241967325
Frog is a richly complex new novel about China's one-child policy by Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012.
Gugu is beautiful, charismatic and of an unimpeachable political background. A respected midwife, she combines modern medical knowledge with a healer's touch to save the lives of village women and their babies.
After a disastrous love affair with a defector leaves Gugu reeling, she throws herself zealously into enforcing China's draconian new family-planning policy by any means necessary, be it forced sterilizations or late-term abortions. Tragically, her blind devotion to the Party line spares no one, not her own family, not even herself.
Once beloved, Gugu becomes the living incarnation of a reviled social policy violently at odds with deeply-rooted social values. Spanning the pre-revolutionary era and the country's modern-day consumer society, Mo Yan's taut and engrossing examination of Chinese life will be read for generations to come.
(Price & availability last checked: August 2015)