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. .
Amazon Editorial Reviews for : Human Acts
An Amazon Best Book of January 2017: Han Kang, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning The Vegetarian, is back with a new novel that is as poetic as it is disturbing, profound as it is intimate, brave as it is brilliant. This is a story seeped in South Korean history but rooted in the stronghold of humanity. In Human Acts, Kang recounts a violent uprising in Gwangju, South Korea in 1980 and begins unapologetically with the bodies – the bodies piled unclaimed and rotting of the students that were murdered. Dong-ho, a young teenager looks for his friend amidst the rubble, clinging to the proximity of his friend’s last breath. Refusing to go home, Dong-ho is murdered. From there, Kang’s epic novel blooms outward, telling the stories of friends, family, prisoners, editors that are haunted, ruined and ravaged by the atrocities of that day. Kang is uncompromisingly raw in her portrayal of the violence, censorship and political corruption that pervades the lives of these South Koreans. She unfurls how trauma extends across generations, how forgetting is impossible and how human touch can still incite hope: “it felt as they were rethreading the sinews of that world heart, patching up the fissures from which blood had flowed, making it beat again.” Human Acts is a triumph of sustained force and poetry. –Al Woodworth, The Amazon Book Review
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