Mao Zedong dancing. The late Chinese leader’s personal doctor, Li Zhisui, described his predilection for selecting young women at leadership dances to have sex with, a practice Vanessa Hua’s novel Forbidden City explores. Photo: Getty Images
Mao Zedong dancing. The late Chinese leader’s personal doctor, Li Zhisui, described his predilection for selecting young women at leadership dances to have sex with, a practice Vanessa Hua’s novel Forbidden City explores. Photo: Getty Images

Review |
Novel gives voice to the girls Mao Zedong had sex with, in the powerful form of a confessional

  • Vanessa Hua’s Forbidden City tells its story in the form of a confessional by the fictional Mei Xiang, pulled at 15 from a dance at China’s Zhonghanhai compound
  • ‘Fiction flourishes where the official record ends,’ Hua writes, and, with sections that convey a powerful verisimilitude, her book mostly bears this out

Mao Zedong dancing. The late Chinese leader’s personal doctor, Li Zhisui, described his predilection for selecting young women at leadership dances to have sex with, a practice Vanessa Hua’s novel Forbidden City explores. Photo: Getty Images
Mao Zedong dancing. The late Chinese leader’s personal doctor, Li Zhisui, described his predilection for selecting young women at leadership dances to have sex with, a practice Vanessa Hua’s novel Forbidden City explores. Photo: Getty Images
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