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Walking a Tightrope Reviews

Walking a Tightrope by Olivia Cox-Fill

Walking a Tightrope: Memories of Wu Jeiping, personal physician to China's leaders

Olivia Cox-Fill

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Skyscraper Publications
Publisher: Skyscraper Publications
Publication date: 3 Feb 2020
ISBN: 9781911072416

An intimate portrait of one of China's leading doctors who treated Zhou En-Lai and Madame Mao while trying to survive in the harsh early years of Communist rule.

3 stars out of 5
15 May 2020

"The physician who treated China’s leaders is a candid witness to corrupt power in Olivia Cox-Fill’s biography"

Walking a Tightrope suffers from repetition and confusion, switching between first-person narration by Wu and Cox-Fill, sometimes several times on one page. The florid prose and effusive praise of Wu and Zhou Enlai sometimes detract from the book’s more gripping content, which includes the vicissitudes of Wu’s personal life. His first marriage was arranged when he was a teenager, a second ended after his wife committed suicide, and Cox-Fill writes with melancholy about his third marriage, which mostly resulted in a severing of ties with his children. One of Wu’s favourite sayings was: “If you tell a lie a thousand times, it becomes the truth.” Walking a Tightrope at least strives to record a sliver of modern Chinese history that the Communist party is determined to erase.