Translated by Howard Goldblatt (from Chinese)
2015, I read an advanced review copy
389 pages, historical fiction, psychological, epistolic
Thank you to the Goodreads Firstreads program, through which I had the opportunity to read a free advanced review copy of this book.
Tadpole, a Chinese playwright, is working on a play about the emotional fallout of the Cultural Revolution and the enforcement of the One-Child Policy. To organize his ideas, he writes a series of letters to his Japanese sensei describing his childhood memories and family stories. He focuses on the position of his aunt Gugu in their village community. A talented obstetrician, she was initially loved for her ability to save mothers' lives with new, modern medical techniques, but later she becomes the local face of the family planning commission. The novel, and Tadpole's play that is included at the end, explore the complexities of the political, moral, and medical situation created by the family planning policies of the Chinese state.
Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.