The White Book

Han Kang

Published: 2 November 2017
Hardback, B Format
129x198mm, 128 pages
ISBN: 9781846276293

Other Editions


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Published: 2 November 2017
ISBN: 9781846276897

Ebook Available


From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian

From the author of The Vegetarian and Human Acts comes a book like no other. The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith.

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


The White Book is a profound and precious thing, its language achingly intimate, each image haunting and true. It is a remarkable achievement. Han Kang is a genius’ Lisa McInerney



‘A brilliant psychogeography of grief, moving as it does between place, history and memory... Poised and never flinches from serene dignity... The White Book is a mysterious text, perhaps in part a secular prayer book... Translated seamlessly by Smith, The White Book succeeds in reflecting Han's urgent desire to transcend pain with language’ Deborah Levy

‘Each [chapter] is a miniature work of art in its own right... there is a crispness to [Han's] pieces evocative of the stark luminescence of white... This is a book you want to underline and highlight every other line or word as you read, yet every time I went to make my mark, my pencil hovered over the margins - deep as drifts of pillow-white snow - as I remained reticent to taint the perfect whiteness in front of me. The White Book is a shimmering, evocative work. Smith's peerless translation captures every last tiny nuance, the resultant prose so beautiful and affecting that it stops you in your tracks’ Lucy Scholes

‘There is beauty and pain in every sentence and image, made sharper by their simplicity and aching honesty’

‘Wonderful. A quietly gripping contemplation on life, death and the existential impact of those who have gone before’ Eimear McBride


15/11/2017, 18:30

In Conversation: Han Kang and Deborah Smith

Waterstones Deansgate are thrilled to welcome Han Kang and Deborah Smith to Manchester, to celebrate the publication of Han Kang's latest work, The White Book. Winner of the 2016 International Man Booker Prize for her novel, The Vegetarian, Han Kang joins us to discuss her writing with Deborah Smith, translator of The Vegetarian and The White Book, and founder of Tilted Axis Press. Join us on Wednesday 15th November at 6:30pm when Han and Deborah will be in conversation, before answering questions from the audience and signing copies of The White Book. The White Book is a book like no other. It is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Manchester, UK, 91 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BW

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