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Wa by Yan Mo
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Wa (edition 2009)

by Yan Mo

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10110119,589 (3.66)1
Member:knol
Title:Wa
Authors:Yan Mo
Info:Taibei Shi : Mai tian chu ban, 2009.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Nobel

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I finished this book a while back, and I feel badly that I didn't review it right away. For a westerner, it puts a personal face on (at least one author's perspective of) life in China throughout the 20th century, and all of the double-speak and about-faces that were required of regular folks just trying to live out their lives as policies changed. Of course we in the west have our own double-speaks and about-faces during that century as well. It did make me hungry to read more Chinese authors, and in particular I'll be looking for more of Mo Yan.

*** I received my copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads (but I promise that did not influence my thoughts on this book). ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
Confusing. Lady works for Communist party in China sterilizing and doing late term abortions. In the end did Lilttle Lion really have a baby or was it the child of the serogate? Book ends with play about their lives written by Little Lion's husband.
  susanmhills | Jul 10, 2015 |
Frogs, babies and family planning, 9 April 2015

This review is from: Frog (Hardcover)
A powerful work, bringing to life the ramifications of China's 'One Child Policy'; when Gugu, a modern, no-nonsense midwife in a rural township, finds her life in tatters - both emotionally and politically - after her pilot lover absconds - she devotes herself to her work. Only now, the priority is to enforce China's family planning laws. Narrated by her nephew, we follow this apparently cold, hard woman, and her devoted assistant, Little Lion, as they pursue the 'illegally pregnant' ...
The words for baby and frog are the same in Chinese; the nephew's nickname is 'Tadpole' and there are many references to frogs throughout the text. The years roll by and a modern and more capitalist regime succeeds the old, a world where anything is possible if you pay. And a local entrepreneur opens a bullfrog-breeding farm, which offers a whole different side to baby-making....
After giving up on Mo Yan's 'Red Sorghum', I found this quite a compulsive read. ( )
  starbox | Apr 9, 2015 |
Free ARC from publisher through Goodreads First Reads program.

I liked this novel about a Chinese midwife who is caught up in China's population control policies. Gugu not only delivers babies, she must provide birth control information, insert IUDs, and perform abortions. The major part of the novel is told by her grand-nephew in a series of long letters. The final portion is a play based on Gugu's life. I found the play section tedious and really a slog to read.

Although the subject matter is serious and the characters struggle with difficult moral choices and tragedies, there is a warmth, humor, and sympathy in the narration. Definitely worth reading. ( )
  seeword | Feb 17, 2015 |
The narrator in Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan's most recent novel to be translated into English is named “Tadpole,” and he wishes to write a play about his aunt, Gugu. In Frog (Viking Adult, $27.95), Gugu, who is 70 when the story begins, survives the Japanese occupation, trains as a midwife, becomes a member of the Communist Party, suffers through the great famine, is jilted by a fiancé who defects—and endangers her position in so doing. She later embraces the “one-child” policy, and is transformed from the much-honored midwife to the hated government abortion provider. As Yan portrays the suffering of the people, there is also a—perhaps too subtle for some—criticism of the state that is the source of so much of the suffering. More than anything, Frog complicates things for Mo Yan; he's neither completely a “party hack,” nor is he a harsh critic of the state.

Review in Sacramento News & Review: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/ambivalent-amphibian/content?oid=16210661 ( )
  KelMunger | Feb 13, 2015 |
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Sensei, an old custom in my hometown dictates that a newborn child is given the name of a body part or organ.
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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.
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