SRQ Book Club: Non-Fiction Book Review by Bookseller Roxanne Baker

Arts & Culture

Book cover photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

If you were fortunate, you saw one or maybe both WeiWei art installations at Ringling Museum (Zodiac Brass Sculptures or Zodiac Legos).  If you missed those, you can at least discover what inspired WeiWei by reading his upcoming engrossing memoir titled 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

WeiWei spent over two months in solitary confinement in China and while there, regretted so deeply his lack of empathy for his own father’s plight that he penned his backstory.  Thus, Weiwei’s memoir is his father's biography as much as his own memoir and reads similar to Laura Hillenbrand’s heroic and riveting biography Unbroken.

From surviving labor camp in his formative years with his father, Wei Wei made it to New York City and used his artistic skill to survive.  He documents his friendship with Allen Ginsburg which originated from a meeting Ginsberg had with his father in a previous meeting in China. 

WeiWei returned to his homeland, beginning a career in repurposing object art which quickly transformed into rebellious statement pieces in response to the oppressive society.  Equally moving was his stumble into fatherhood where he evolved even further, wanting his son to understand his genealogical legacy.

At close to 400 pages, I was enthralled by the entire journey as WeiWei’s fearlessness is an awe inspiring freedom of speech and expression plea for the world. 

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir (ISBN: 9780553419467)  is available for pre-order at .sarasotabooks.com and can be purchased in-store upon its publication date November 2, 2021.

Book cover photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

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