22 comments on “The White Book by Han Kang | Book Review

  1. It’s weird, I agree with most of this review but I read this book a few months ago and it’s left very little impression on me. The Vegetarian was much more memorable. Is Human Acts worth reading?

  2. Interesting review. I have been meaning to read this book for a while now and I think I should do it sooner. I liked both The Vegetarian and Human Acts, especially the former. The title of this one reminds me of Orhan Pamuk’s great novel The Black Book.

    • Thank you! I preferred The Vegetarian to Human Acts as well, but had a huge amount of respect for the technical achievement of both. Linguistically and stylistically, I think this is her greatest offering yet, so I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

      • Now I must read it this weekend itself. And indeed, Kang has great technical control over the narrative strategies that she employs; she has the gift for stylistically rendering everything from the devastating to the subtle. I think I found the convergence of form and content more seamless and symbiotic in The Vegetarian than in Human Acts.

  3. I’m so glad you loved this, but it’s funny that we’ve had the exact opposite experiences with Kang – Human Acts being my favorite from her and this one being my least favorite. But, I still gave it 4 stars so take ‘least favorite’ with a grain of salt. I didn’t find it as memorable and striking as her other two, but I thought it was an absolutely gorgeous book that I am tempted to revisit at some point soon.

  4. Excellent review! I’m just about to pick up Human Acts, and so looking forward to it. I’ll be adding this one to my TBR as well! I like the sound of those vignettes, and the examination of her sister’s death does sound emotional. I’m glad this one worked so well for you!

  5. Ooh, this sounds intriguing! I have to say, it is quite different from what I normally read, but I have always liked to challenge myself from time to time. Perhaps I should start with Human Acts though…

    • Human Acts does seem to be a lot of people’s favourite Han Kang book, so perhaps that would be a good place to start 😊 I hope you enjoy her work if and when you get around to it!

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    • Thank you! I’d say this is the most unique stylistically amongst the three books she’s had translated thus far. It reads more like prose poetry, with the focus being on the language, imagery and emotion of grief, but with a subtle narrative thread tying it all together.

      I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts if you decided to give it a go, but I certainly concede that Kang’s not an author for everyone!

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