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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei
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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei
Nov 02, 2021 | ISBN 9780553419467

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“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, author of Me

“With uncommon humanity, humbling scholarship, and poignant intimacy, Ai Weiwei recounts a life of courage, argument, defeat, and triumph. He conjures the disparate phases and realities of China and explains how this country, which seems so changed from the outside, is consistent within. He is passionately committed to the cause of freedom and accountability, and though he is sometimes self-mocking and often witty, he has written a majestic and exquisitely serious masterpiece about his China, which is in fact a book about our world. His is one of the great voices of our time.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World

“Ai Weiwei’s 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows is an eloquent chronicle of the artist’s own tumultuous life—including his arrest and detention in 2011 by Chinese authorities—and that of his father, the eminent poet Ai Qing, who was banished to a remote labor camp during Mao’s Cultural Revolution; and a heartfelt letter to his young son, Ai Lao, explaining his convictions as an artist, activist, and witness to history. At the same time, the book provides a clear-eyed picture—reminiscent, by turns, of Kafka and Solzhenitsyn—of several decades of Chinese history and the terrible costs of authoritarian rule. Like the author’s brilliant installations and films, the book is an impassioned testament to the enduring powers of art—to challenge the state and the status quo, to affirm essential and inconvenient truths, and to assert the indispensable agency of imagination and will in the face of political repression.”—Michiko Kakutani, author of Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread

“This is the rarest sort of memoir, rising above the arc of history to grasp at the limits of the soul. Ai’s work is a remarkable testament to the eternal power of the simple, daring truth, underlining that an artist without the courage to speak it is merely a decorator—and a citizen without it is a subject.”—Edward Snowden, author of Permanent Record

“Ai Weiwei’s intimate, unflinching memoir is an instant classic in the literature of China’s rise, a protest against the destruction of memory, and a glorious testament to the power of free expression. For years, his art and activism have warned the world about autocracy. Now his prose lays bare, with haunting clarity, a family’s searing experience, and says as much about the future as it does about the past.”—Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

“One thousand years of joys and sorrows are here concentrated into a mere one hundred. They are years that teem with life of a startling variety. The presentation is artful and the translation exquisite.”—Perry Link, author of An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics

“[This memoir] is both intimate and expansive, an interrogation of art and freedom. . . . It’s a fascinating sociopolitical history, and a behind-the-scenes look at how one of the world’s most significant living artists became who he is.”Time
“Fluid, heartfelt . . . A beautiful and poignant memoir demonstrating perseverance and the power of art.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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