More than three years after the outbreak of Covid-19 comes Deadly Quiet City, an inside account of the pandemic's earliest days in Wuhan, China. Bestselling Chinese writer and critic of censorship and corruption Murong Xuecun (Leave Me Alone) relates the testimonies of eight Wuhan residents from late 2019 and early 2020, and the risks he took to get them. The result is a dramatic human mosaic, an urgent chronicle of a pivotal period in world history, and a fierce indictment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Through the perspectives of a frontline doctor, a citizen journalist (who has since disappeared), a delivery and odd-jobs worker, a caregiver for elderly parents, and more, Murong imparts an astute view of Wuhan's extraordinary trials and heroes, from essential workers to ordinary people who risked everything to do what they could to save their fellow human beings.
Not only eyeing the personal, Murong pierces the veneer of CCP propaganda and holds the government to account for its many failures--such as withholding the fact of the virus's human-to-human transmissibility in late December 2019, Potemkin hospitals, draconian lockdowns with insufficient supplies that often amounted to mass house arrest, and the sclerotic and indifferent bureaucracy--all of which he alleges dramatically worsened the global outbreak.
Collectively, the testimonies of Deadly Quiet City form a riveting account of human strength and resilience free of sentimentalism or idolatry, and a cross-sectional portrait that begins to clarify and preserve for posterity a chaotic place and time. --Walker Minot, freelance writer and editor