Human Acts

Han Kang

Published: 3 November 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 224 pages
ISBN: 9781846275975
£8.99

Translated by Deborah Smith

Overview

Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend's corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma.

Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.


About the author

Image of Han Kang

Han Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea, and moved to Seoul at the age of ten. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her writing has won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. The Vegetarian, her first novel to be translated into English, was published by Portobello Books in 2015 and won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. She is also the author of Human Acts (Portobello, 2016) and The White Book (Portobello, forthcoming 2017). She is based in Seoul. More about the author


Reviews

‘[Human Acts] unblinkingly explores the aftermath of one of the darkest moments in South Korean history... It's written with a clear-eyed exactness that is at times horrifying... Ultimately, this is a harrowing novel that deftly examines human cruelty’ Ruchira Sharma

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Reviews

‘[Han Kang's] way of telling about the event of a 10-day insurgency on Gwangju, South Korea in 1980 and its psychological, spiritual and political aftermath opened my eyes to the cruelty and viciousness perpetrated on the youth of that city. Her writing is spare and yet clotted with emotion’ Susie Orbach, Best Books of 2016

‘[Han Kang's] way of telling about the events of a 10-day insurgency in Gwangju, South Korea in 1980 and its psychological, spiritual and political aftermath opened my eyes to the cruelty and viciousness perpetrated on the youth of that city. Her writing is spare and yet clotted with emotion’ Susie Orbach, Best Books of 2016

Human Acts is a stunning piece of work. The language is poetic, immediate, and brutal. Han Kang has again proved herself to be a deft artist of storytelling and imagery’ Jess Richards, author

‘A conversation of which we rarely hear both sides: the living talking to the dead, and the dead speaking back

‘An extraordinary novel about politics and torture, about the way we memorialize past wrongs. Deborah Smith's translation is typically lucid and readable’ Alex Preston, Best Books of 2016

‘An important and necessary book... a devastating and vital a work of literature’ Lucy Scholes

‘Beautiful and brutal... A fearless examination of the state of humanity and the diagnosis isn't good. This is the pitiless kind of novel that burrows into its reader’ Lisa McInerney

‘Han Kang's Human Acts is no less piercing: an exquisite, painful and deeply courageous account of the 1980 Gwangju massacre’ Philippe Sands, Best Books of 2016

‘Han Kang's Human Acts is piercing: an exquisite, painful and deeply courageous account of the 1980 Gwangju massacre’ Philippe Sands, Best Books of 2016

‘Powerful’ David Hebblethwaite

‘Powerful and disturbing... lyrical and chilling’

‘Raw and beautiful, Han's prose was as contrary as the human acts she described’

‘This ghostly narrative is elliptical and self-conscious about the difficulty of accounting for the legacy of state violence... poignant’ Anthony Cummins

‘Though there's violence and bloodshed on a large scale in Han's depiction of the Gwangju Uprising, it is the small human movements that I found most vivid. That contrast helped to create the strongest experience of all the books I read this year’ David Hebblethwaite





 
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