“Frogs”, the latest novel by Mo Yan.
If you like Mo Yan, cheer up. As was told during his interview to Rue89 (30/08/2009), his novel “Frogs” has just been published in Beijing. “Frogs”, “Wa” in Chinese is pronounced like Nu Wa, goddess in Chinese mythology who created humanity, more over the frog in some provinces is the symbol of fertility.
As he said in an interview with China Daily (01/08/2010), it is a novel about his aunt, now 76 years old, who was a midwife in the province of Shandong, in Gaomi.
It is primarily a book about the one-child policy and the individual tragedies that can take place as a result.
Each of the five chapters begins with a letter written by a Chinese writer to a Japanese writer, whose father imprisoned Mo Yan’s aunt during the war to try to arrest a family member who was a doctor with the Eighth chinese army.
The Japanese author of the novel recognizes, unlike many of his countrymen, the atrocities of the Imperial Army in China. But, as mentioned by Mo Yan, there are also Chinese who seek external responsibilities in order to forget tragedies like the Cultural Revolution which concerns the whole population.
Eric Abrahamsen from paper-republic.org is not over enthousiastic with the novel, very traditional in its storytelling, very controlled, and perhaps a little too much therefore, you hardly feel the emotion that should be created by such a sensitive issue.
Mo Yan, after “Life and death are wearing me out”(1) surprises us again with a completely different book which I hope will not wait too long to be translated.
(1) Arcade Publishing, New York, 2008.
PS: “Frogs” is now translated into French.