book hack

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

Ai Weiwei

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

The memoir of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei follows his own life and that of his father, providing a candid history of modern China.

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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

by Ai Weiwei

Overview

In 2011, artist and activist Ai Weiwei was arrested and interrogated by the Chinese government, sparking international outrage. During his time in captivity, Ai decided to write a book that was both a memoir and a reflection on modern China.

Despite his struggle against its oppressive government, Ai's book reveals how his fate is intertwined with China's. Beginning with his father's childhood, Ai's book spans a century colored by events including the Sino-Japanese war, the Arab Spring, and the rise of China. Taking its name from a poem written by Ai's father, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows is a story of love, resistance, and the shaping of a nation.

Favorite quote

A thousand years of joys and sorrows, of them now there is no trace, you who are living, live the best life you can, don't count on the earth to preserve memory.

- Ai Qing, poet and Ai Weiwei's father

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