This novel vividly portrays the inner pain of those who have survived the Gwangju Upspring and includes a character named Dongho, a middle school student who has fought against a military army.
- Book Intro
Han Kang sheds a new light on the May 18th Gwangju Democratization Movement through her dedicated efforts to see through the structure of wounds. Her story about a fifteen-year-old boy, which was published in “Windows,” a literary blog managed by Changbi Publishing from November 2013 to January 2014, has gained a lot of attention.
Han Kang prompts people who are living without remembering May 18th to bring the day back into their memories, using sentences that deliver the messages of the innocent souls while comforting those who have been leading hard lives and still suffering from the trauma of May 18th.
Human Acts vividly portrays the inner pain of those who have survived the Gwangju Upspring and includes a character named Dongho, a middle school student who has fought against a military army. Her thorough description of the horrible situations “evokes certain sensations in readers and calls for them to remember the historical facts we must hold onto” (from the commentary by a literary critic Baek Jiyeon).
As the author confessed that she “could not avoid writing this novel” and “felt as if I won’t be able to go anywhere without passing through this story,” Human Acts is the work that expanded her literary world. As put by a literary critic Shin Hyeongcheol, “Han Kang’s novel surpasses Han Kang herself.”
- About the Author
Han Kang was born in Gwangju in 1970. Since the age of ten, she was raised in Suyuri, Seoul after her family moved there. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Han started her career as a poet by publishing five poems including Winter in Seoul in the winter issue of Munhakgwa Sahoe in 1993. She started her career as a novelist the next year by winning the 1994 Seoul Shinmun Spring Literary Contest with Red Anchor. She published her first short story collection entitled Yeosu (Munji Publishing Company) in 1995. She participated in the University of Iowa International Writing Program for three months in 1998 with support from the Arts Council Korea.
Her books include a short story collection, Fruits of My Woman (2000), Fire Salamander (2012); and novels such as Black Deer (1998), Your Cold Hands (2002), The Vegetarian (2007), Breath Fighting (2010), Greek Lessons (2011), Human Acts (2014), and The White Book (2016). The poem collection I Put the Evening in the Drawer (2013) was published as well.
She won the 25th Korean Novel Award for her novella Baby Buddha in 1999, the 2000 Today’s Young Artist Award by Culture Ministry Korea, the 2005 YiSang Literary Award with Mongol Spot, and the 2010 Dongri Literary Award with The Wind is Blowing. Han was awarded the Manhae Literary Prize for Human Acts (2014) and Hwang Sunwon Literary Award (2015) for the novella While One Snowflake Melts. The Vegetarian won her the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, and Atti Umani won her the 2017 Malaparte Prize in Italy.
Aladdin, 2014, Top 10 Books of the Year
Malaparte Literary Award
National School Librarian Council, 2018, Recommended Book