November 29, 2021 8:15 AM EST

A memoir from renowned artist and political activist Ai Weiwei was always going to be fascinating; his journey from a childhood spent in exile with his father to becoming one of the world’s most celebrated artists is, at its core, a captivating story. Spurred by Ai’s traumatic imprisonment by Chinese authorities in 2011, the memoir is as much about him as it is about his father, the celebrated poet and visionary Ai Qing, who was sentenced to hard labor in a remote area called “Little Siberia” after China’s Cultural Revolution and whose steadfast belief in the political power of art is echoed in Ai’s body of work. Ai weaves his father’s biography throughout, using his story as a jumping off point to explore his own complicated feelings about art, privilege, oppression, fame and China’s recent history.

Buy Now: 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

EDIT POST