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DEADLY QUIET CITY: Stories from Wuhan, Covid Ground Zero
by Murong Xuecun

DEADLY QUIET CITY: Stories from Wuhan, Covid Ground Zero by Murong Xuecun

‘You can say that this is a book of trembling in fear’

On 23 January 2020, Wuhan was placed in total lockdown. The city of eleven million people – the centre of China’s coronavirus outbreak – was cut off from the world. As cherry blossoms fall on silent streets, people are left anxious and afraid, struggling to find medicine, food or information about the virus that has trapped them in their homes.

In DEADLY QUIET CITY Murong Xuecun, one of China’s most celebrated authors, bravely travels to the locked-down city, covertly interviewing people from all walks of life on their experiences. An exhausted doctor in a small hospital, battling the virus while sick. An illegal motorcycle taxi driver, ferrying people around the empty city. A citizen journalist fighting to reveal the truth of what happened during that endless spring. Murong follows eight people as the catastrophe unfolded, sharing their lives and their grief in their own voices

DEADLY QUIET CITY is a haunting and unforgettable literary work, and a piece of modern history that reveals so much about the lives of people in China today.

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As mentioned before, Murong is not telling another Covid story. At great risk to his safety, he shows how Wuhan became a symbol of the broader flaws and cracks of China’s authoritative regime and how ordinary Chinese people try to navigate this system.

His book has the potential to become a classic and intimate account of an epic tragedy with global consequences in the same ilk as Ghosts of The Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry (the 2011 Japanese tsunami told through personal stories which give insight into Japan’s government and psychology) and Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich (the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy and awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature).

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Asuka Shinsha – Japan

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