1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows : The story of two lives, one nation, and a century of art under tyranny

4.25 (1,796 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.25 (1,796 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

Through the sweeping, extraordinary story of his own and his father's lives, Ai Weiwei - one of the world's most famous artists and activists - tells an epic tale of China over the last 100 years.

Ai Weiwei's sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium. But his political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his own life story and that of his father, whose own creativity was stifled.

Once an intimate of Mao Zedong, Ai Weiwei's father was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as 'Little Siberia', where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labour cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America. With candour and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist - and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.

At once ambitious and intimate, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 154 x 234 x 30mm | 651g
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781847923516
  • 53,495

Review Text

Intimate, unflinching ... an instant classic ... a glorious testament to the power of free expression
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Review quote

Intimate, unflinching ... an instant classic ... a glorious testament to the power of free expression -- Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition This is the rarest sort of memoir, rising above the arc of history to grasp at the limits of the soul -- Edward Snowden Above all a story of inherited resilience, strength of character and self-determination * Guardian * An impassioned testament to the enduring powers of art -- Michiko Kakutani, author of Ex Libris Ai Weiwei is one of the world's greatest living artists. He is a master of multiple media. His work is always thought-provoking, unpredictable and immensely personal -- Elton John
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About Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is one of the world's most important living artists. Born in 1957, he lives in Cambridge, UK.

Allan H. Barr is the author of a study in Chinese of a literary inquisition in the early Qing dynasty, Jiangnan yijie: Qing ren bixia de Zhuangshi shi'an, and the translator of several books by contemporary Chinese authors, including Yu Hua's China in Ten Words and Han Han's This Generation. He teaches Chinese at Pomona College in California.
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Rating details

1,796 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 45% (803)
4 39% (704)
3 13% (238)
2 2% (40)
1 1% (11)
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