Friday, February 3, 2017

G822 Book Review of human acts by han kang

General Information:

Name of Book: Human Acts (Soneun i eundae)

ISBN: 978-1-101-90672-9

Publisher: Hogarth Publisher

Year it was published: 2016 (original 2014)


From the internationally bestselling author of The Vegetarian, a rare and astonishing (The Observer) portrait of political unrest and the universal struggle for justice.

In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho's best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

An award-winning, controversial bestseller, Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns tracing the harsh reality of oppression and the resounding, extraordinary poetry of humanity.

Author: Han Kang

About the Author:

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet and was first published as a novelist in 1994. A participant in the International Writing Porgram at the University of Iowa. Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Award, the Today's Young Artist Award, and teh manhae Prize for literature. She is currently a professor in the department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

1. The Boy, 1980

One Sentence Summary:

In second person narrative, a young middle schooler, Dong-Ho, who lives in Gwangju goes over to Provencial Office to help with the dead bodies. The first story, which sets up the next interconnected five stories introduces the reader to Kim Jin-Su, Kim Eun-sook, Lim Seon-ju, Jeong-dae, and the mother

2. The Boy's Friend, 1980

One Sentence Summary:

In first person narrative, Jeong-dae begins to describe what happened to him as his body begins to decompose throughout a day or so. He also recalls his sister, Jeong-mi a lot.

3. The Editor, 1985

One Sentence Summary:

In third person narrative, Kim Eun-Sook's life is described as she goes about trying to make sure that the plays aren't censored. Also as well, a little bit of aftermath of Gwangju Massacre is revealed.

4. The Prisoner, 1990

One Sentence Summary:

In first person narrative, an unnamed male who was friends and prisoners with Kim Jin-Su describes his and Kim Jin-Su's life after the imprisonment and torture.

5. The Factory Girl, 2002

One Sentence Summary:

In second person narrative, from Seon-Ju's as well as her friend Sang-hee's point of view, their lives after the Gwangju Massacre are described, how they have been damaged and the damage they have done to others as well as how that event set up the rioting that made up their lives.

6. The Boy's Mother, 2010

One Sentence Summary:

In first person narrative, Dong-Ho's mother describes how Dong-Ho was like as a baby as well as how she felt all those years of his death.

7. The Epilogue: The Writer, 2013

One Sentence Summary:

In first person narrative, an unnamed and genderless writer describes how and why they decided to write about the Gwangju Massacre as well as the obsession they had with the dead boy.

Personal Opinion:

For anyone who might know me, this is one of the books I've been dying to read for almost a year. Heck I've entered multiple giveaways on goodreads, librarything and even bookstr to get this book. I purposely even waited a while before reviewing The Glorious Heresies just to make sure I'll go for this book. Finally blogging for books offered the book, and boy only knew how happy I was when I ordered it, (although I had to wait almost a FREAKING month before holding it and reading it...) so is the story worthwhile? Very much so. It's a beautiful yet brutal story of humanity and death, a snowflake in the middle of Sahara Desert is best way to describe it. The story is also very similar to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi in that it deals with imprint of memory, except while Human Acts span 30 or so years, Homegoing spans centuries. (Yes, expect Homegoing review soon.)

This is for Blogging for Books

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


  1. Me too, I've entered every giveaway Goodreads had for it! Ever since I read The Vegetarian, I've been dying to find this one. I'm glad you liked it. Now I'm even more anxious to read it.

  2. You could try to join blogging for books :) they have that book for free provided you read and write the review. I loved the book, my favorite story is second one, oddly enough. The author is very talented with points of view.

    I hope you get a chance to read it. I will loo, forward to your review :)

  3. Brilliantly elegiac. Special credit to the translation of this beautiful touching gripping and important novel.


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