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Publisher's Summary

From one of China’s most acclaimed and decorated writers comes a powerful first-person account of life in Wuhan during the COVID-19 outbreak.

On January 25, 2020, after the central government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, acclaimed Chinese writer Fang Fang began publishing an online diary. In the days and weeks that followed, Fang Fang’s nightly postings gave voice to the fears, frustrations, anger, and hope of millions of her fellow citizens, reflecting on the psychological impact of forced isolation, the role of the internet as both community lifeline and source of misinformation, and most tragically, the lives of neighbors and friends taken by the deadly virus. 

A fascinating eyewitness account of events as they unfold, Wuhan Diary captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information. Fang Fang finds solace in small domestic comforts and is inspired by the courage of friends, health professionals, and volunteers, as well as the resilience and perseverance of Wuhan’s nine million residents. But, by claiming the writer's duty to record she also speaks out against social injustice, abuse of power, and other problems which impeded the response to the epidemic and gets herself embroiled in online controversies because of it. 

As Fang Fang documents the beginning of the global health crisis in real time, we are able to identify patterns and mistakes that many of the countries dealing with the novel coronavirus have later repeated. She reminds us that, in the face of the new virus, the plight of the citizens of Wuhan is also that of citizens everywhere. As Fang Fang writes: "The virus is the common enemy of humankind; that is a lesson for all humanity. The only way we can conquer this virus and free ourselves from its grip is for all members of humankind to work together." 

Blending the intimate and the epic, the profound and the quotidian, Wuhan Diary is a remarkable record of an extraordinary time.

©2020 Fang Fang (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Wuhan Diary

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In-depth look at life under quarantine

Before the release of the English translation, I read two episodes of Fang Fang's Wuhan Diary from my friends' group on WeChat, the dominant social media application in China, and was deeply moved by the details of human suffering. However, due to the author's frank portrayal of the lock-down, some other episodes were removed by the censors before I could read it. I was very glad to be able to listen to the English translation of every episode. When I asked a friend who works at the University of Wuhan if it is possible to get a Chinese collection, he said no. The entire collection is actually not available in Chinese. Going beyond the details of everyday life in Wuhan under the lock-down, the reader can also sense the fundamental problems with the local political system that contributed to the spread of the disease. It is the author's insights into the latter that are profound and very educational. This is a book that polarizes, as people who do not want to see the negative side of China being portrayed will not like it. However, the insights gained from this book is well worth the time. How would the local governments make progress if they do not recognize their mistakes in decision-making?

2 people found this helpful

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Propaganda -I skimmed it

Scripted story of sketchy facts. Don't know if poor writing or translating It didn't ring true. I'm returning it.

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Very enlightening.

Regardless of how much this writer recieved hatred, knowing what her experience was about the virus and daily life at the city epicenter is something the world needed to hear. I applaud her courage.

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History as it was made

I very much enjoyed hearing Fang Fang's recounting of the early days of the pandemic. There was a technical issue in the middle of the story where we went from March back into January but it resolved with a few skip aheads.

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Touches the soul of human nature

Very detailed account of what has happened, it touches my soul. Great translation and super narrator