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흰 by Han Kang

From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian Both the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang Written while on a writer's residency in Warsaw a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister who di. I read this book because I recently enjoyed this author s novel The Vegetarian The White Book is not a novel it s a collection of mostly one page mini essays almost meditations on things that are white The focus is on loneliness loss and mortality Several are about the whiteness of pain the author suffers from migrainesAmazing how many things that lend themselves to symbolism are white when you think of it So we have pieces on baby gowns rice fog breast milk salt sugar pills hair the Milky Way bones ashes and so on There s also a lot about winter snow snowflakes frost sleet The narrator is visiting Warsaw but her own country of Korea has harsh winters and she also visits the Artic to see the midnight sun So there s a lot on winter whiteness snow snowflakes ice sleet frost A couple of examples of good writing At times my body feels like a prison a solid shifting island threading through the crowd A sealed chamber carrying all the memories of the life I have lived and the mother tongue from which they are inseparable The stubborn the isolation the vivid these unlooked for fragments the oppressive their weight So that is seems the place I flee to is not so much a city on the other side of the world as further into my own interior In the chapter Frost Trees shiver off their leaves incrementally lightening their burden Solid objects like stones or buildings appear subtly dense Seen from behind men and women bundled up in heavy coats are saturated with a mute presentiment that of people beginning to endure The author occasionally gives us poetry Because at some point you will inevitably cast me asideWhen I am at my weakest when I am most in need of helpYou will turn your back on me cold and irrevocableAnd that is something perfectly clear to meAnd I cannot now return to the time before that knowledge I enjoyed the book It was like meditating The author b 1970 has written a half dozen novels of which three have been translated into English Her book The Vegetarian won the 2016 Man Booker prize for translations This book reviewed here The White Book was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize Top photo from marketplacecanvacomPhoto of Warsaw from gettyimagescomThe author from lithubcom

Read 흰 by Han Kang

Formerly obliterated in the Second World War their identities blur and overlap as the narrator wonders 'Can I give this life to you' 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 destructionphotographs in print edition only. A short and intensely personal and poetic meditation but a very difficult one to encapsulate in a reviewThe starting point is a simple list of white things but the book is haunted by many darker undertones I am not sure how much I understood but it felt profoundly human spare and elegant every word chargedThis is my second book from the Man Booker International longlist I had already read Die My Love and bought this one before it was announced

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Ed a mere two hours after birth A fragmented exploration of white things the swaddling bands that were also her shroud the breast milk she did not live to drink the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation As she walks the unfamiliar snow streaked streets lined by buildings. This is the 3rd book I ve read by Han Kang a phenomenal contemporary Korean writer The Vegetarian was fierce with haunting prose making it very hard to put down It was gut wrenching painful for me personally having survived the horrific years when our daughter was starving herself to deathYetI knew I was reading something brilliant I became an instant fan of Han KangThe next book I read by this young exceptional author was Human Acts It was brutal one that I continued to feel its depths long after I read it Do you ever throw your hands up in the air literary clueless in understanding why people are cruel mean cold hearted TO YOUwelltake it 1000 steps Why do we have such extreme violence in the world Bloody frightening riots killing hundreds of people at a time Han wrote about how a single event changed a nation in South Korea Both books were devastatingly powerful literary masterpieces about humanity The White Book is eually a masterpiece one that possibly took courage to write than her first two booksgiven she is blood related to this story Note The White Book does tell a storybut is not written in the traditional way a novel is Han reflects on her list of white things in short chapters and inserts other relating topics telling a story from personal history imagination loss grief hope human fragility and love At the start Han says In the spring when I decided to write about white things the first thing I did was make a list Swaddling bandsNewborn gownSaltSnowIceMoonRiceWavesYulan White Bird Laughing whitely Blank paperWhite DogWhite HairShroud With each item I wrote down a ripple of agitation ran through me I felt that yes I needed to write this book and the process of writing it would be transformative would itself transform into something like white ointment applied to a swelling like gauze laid over a wound Something I needed Han s hopes in writing this book was to be transformative It s a story that is part of her personal history It was definitely transformative to me I looked at life and death in ways I haven t before Han opens a new pathway in which to examine life and death past history and how it shapes our current and future selves Starting with the title of this book The White Book I began this book by sitting for 10 minutes meditating simply preparing myself to open a Han Kang book I wondered about the title what might it mean to Han I ve learned a little from the 3 books by Han the titles of her books are ALWAYS POWERFUL with much depth than first glance So I wondered why white things The word WHITE in western cultures symbolizes purity elegance peace and cleanliness brides traditionally wear white dresses at their weddings But in China Korea and some Asian countries white represents death morning and bad luck and is traditionally worn at funerals I honestly will never EVER think of a newborn s birth their LIFE if they should die soon after birth the same again EVER AFTER READING THIS BOOKI know women who gave birth and their baby died just hours after their birth ALL I saw which wasn t it enough was the immediate grief I saw something else which Han presented She shifted my thoughts about an early death Still morning still deep sadness from the sudden deathbut what difference does this short life bring to others I kept reading and my mind expanded In Han s book we learn that a 22 year mother gives birth to a premature baby girl She is dead in two hours From there as I continued reading I began to look how this baby girl s life for two hours spoke to Han the inspiration for this book comes from true events in Han s life at some point it occurred to me that if I had been similarity visited myself by my mothers first child who had lived just two hours I would have been utterly obliviousBecause the girl had never learn language at all For an hour her eyes opened held them in the direction of our mother s face but her optic nerves never had time to awaken and so that face had remained beyond reach For her there would have been only a voice the mother s voice of grief DON T DIE FOR GOD S SAKE DON T DIE Unintelligible words the only words she was ever to hear More memories The year after the mother lost her first child she had another premature baby Had those lives made it safely past the point of crisis my own birth which followed three years later and that of my brother four years after would not have come about This life needed only one of us to live it If you had lived beyond those first few hours I would not be living now My life means yours is impossible Only in the gap between darkness and light only in that blue tinged breach do we manage to make out each other s faces The narrator was vitality aware of walking side by side with her sister The sister she never knew the sister she wished for the sister who the narrator loved They shared a profound unspoken language together YOUR EYES I saw differently when I looked through your eyes I walked differently when I walked with your body I wanted to show you clean things Before brutality sadness despair pain clean things were only for you clean things above all But I didn t come off as I intended Again and again I peered into your eyes as though searching for form in a deep black mirror There are other short stories about a dog a white butterfly a white bird wild ducks university classmates who had studied literature together their deathand their life rejuvenation revivification and White Flowers The brief March blooming of two yulans Touching story Another achingly beautiful book by Han Kang A woman I wish was my own sister with it s new ways of looking at life and death will stay with me for a long time Grateful to be offered an advance copy by Crown Publishing Netgalley and Han Kang


About the Author: Han Kang

한강Han Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung won She was born in Kwangju and at the age of 10 moved to Suyuri which she speaks of affectionately in her work Greek Lessons in Seoul She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University She began her writing career when one of her poems was featured in the winter issue of the uarterly Literature and Society She made her official literary debut in the following year when her short story The Scarlet Anchor was the winning entry in the daily Seoul Shinmun spring literary contest Since then she has gone on to win the Yi Sang Literary Prize 2005 Today's Young Artist Award and the Korean Literature Novel Award As of summer 2013 Han teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts while writing stories and novels



10 thoughts on “흰 by Han Kang

  1. says:

    Music is often associated with memory I often hear a song and I’m taken back to a time to a place to a person to an experience that I never will be able to regain to a moment that song embodies that will forever be lost in the endless river of life For Han Kang the colour white has a similar effect; it mashes open the

  2. says:

    ‘’I hold nothing dear Not the place where I live not the door I pass through every day not even damn it my life’’ In the beautiful mys

  3. says:

    I read this book because I recently enjoyed this author’s novel The Vegetarian The White Book is not a novel; it’s a collection

  4. says:

    Such a difficult book to describe difficult to review A very unconventional narrative but the writing is just gorgeous Sad at times a reflection on the sister that she never knew using the color white Descriptions of the feelings these things invoke politics reminders of the past present Meaningful Things that make one po

  5. says:

    This is the 3rd book I’ve read by Han Kang a phenomenal contemporary Korean writer ‘The Vegetarian’was fierce with haunting prose making it very hard to put down It was gut wrenching painful for me personally having survived the horrific years when our daughter was starving herself to deathYetI knew I was reading something brilliant I became an instant fan of Han KangThe next book I read by this young exceptional

  6. says:

    I am uite unsure how to review this brilliant little book I think it is something that needs to be experienced rather than read about Told in a series of very short musings on different white things Han Kang circles her own grief and Warsaw’s scarred history in a way that I found absolutely moving I read the book mostly in one sitting it is very short and can only recommend doing that This way the interplay between t

  7. says:

    Hmm I don't know what to make of this bookIt's elegant in a minimalist subdued kind of way The font size is minuscule there's a lot of white space and empty pagesThere are some nice passages but also a whole lot of simple simplisti

  8. says:

    A short and intensely personal and poetic meditation but a very difficult one to encapsulate in a reviewThe starting point is a simple list of white things but the book is haunted by many darker undertones I am not sure how much I understood but it felt profoundly human spare and elegant every word chargedThis is my second book from the Man Booker International longlist I had already read Die My Love and bought this one before it was annou

  9. says:

    Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize The White Book offers a spare meditation on memory loss and the color white The book consists of a series of lyrical prose poems each centering on a white object from a flake of snow to a baby swaddle; across all pieces Han Kang recounts piecemeal the traumatic story of her mother’s giving birth to a stillborn daughter years before she had the writer herself The

  10. says:

    Now shortlisted for the Man Booker International and alongside Flights one of the two outstanding remaining books제발 죽지마 한 시간

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