Big Breasts & Wide Hips by Mo Yan
A Novel

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Synopsis

In a country where men dominate, this epic novel is first and foremost about women. As the title implies, the female body serves as the book's most important image and metaphor. The protagonist, Mother, is born in 1900. Married at 17 into the Shangguan family, she has nine children, only one of whom is a boy, the narrator of the book, a spoiled and ineffectual child who stands in stark contrast to his eight strong and forceful female siblings. Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman, who risks her life to save the lives of several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is full of life-picturesque, bawdy, shocking, imaginative. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. In sum, this stunning novel is Mo Yan's searing vision of 20th-century China.
 

About Mo Yan

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Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in 1955 in North Gaomi Township in Shandong Province, an impoverished rural area that is the setting for much of his fiction. Despite the audacity of his writing, he has won virtually every national literary prize, including China’s Annual Writer’s Prize, its most prestigious award. He is the author of The Garlic Ballads, The Republic of Wine; Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh; Big Breasts and Wide Hips, and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, all published by Arcade, as well as Red Sorghum and Pow!. Mo Yan and his family live in Beijing. Howard Goldblatt taught modern Chinese literature and culture for more than a quarter of a century. He is the foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in the West and a former Guggenheim Fellow.
 
Published November 17, 2004 by Arcade Publishing. 552 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Fiction

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In a sprawling saga that spans a century, the noted Chinese author chronicles the lives of the Shangguan family, graphically illustrating his country's violent past and corrupt present.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Big Breasts & Wide Hips: A Novel

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