As I was waiting for one of my classes I had some spare time to go to our local book shop and a little white book caught my eye, with it’s big korean ( 흰 ) on the cover I picked it up and took it with me. I bought Han Kang’s ‘The White Book’. I read it and here’s my review on it.
The White Book
‘The White Book’ is a meditation on colour, beginning with a simple 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.”
The book is made up out of small stories, in the beginning in the form of a diary. Then the writer talks about a mother losing her child, It’s written in scenes, thoughts and within the whiteness of each page occasionally there’s a grey/black and white picture featuring the writer with white objects. A pebble covered in salt, a white cloth or even just some shadows of a person sitting. The book is spliced into three segments, I, She and All whiteness. White in South Korea symbolizes death but also innocence.
It’s a weird little book and it read quite quickly. If you’re into weird stuff, check it out.
Han Kang (Hangul: 한강; born November 27, 1970) is a South Korean writer. She won the Man Booker International Prize for fiction in 2016 for The Vegetarian, a novel which deals with a woman’s decision to stop eating meat and its devastating consequences.
The novel is also one of the first of her books to be translated into English.
Han Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung-won. She was born in Gwangju and at the age of 10, moved to Suyuri (of which she speaks affectionately in her novel Greek Lessons) in Seoul. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her brother Han Dong Rim is also a writer. She began her writing career when one of her poems was featured in the winter issue of the quarterly 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 and is currently working on her sixth novel.
Han has stated that she suffers from migraines, and credits these migraines with “keeping her humble”. She has also said that if it wasn’t for her migraines, she may not have decided that she wanted to be a writer.
Published: 5 April 2018
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 128 pages
Genre: Poetry, Psychological fiction, Literary fiction
To read more about the book go to the website.
The personal opinion
I can’t really say much about this book since it’s not really my genre when it comes to reading however I enjoyed it, it’s a quick personal read. I’ve read many reviews and a lot of people really enjoy it. It is a mix of poetry and fiction, even translated you can still read it in the way it’s written that it’s a korean way of thinking. I liked it.
Question to the readers
What are your favorite korean books?
Let us know on social media.