Han Kang

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2016

The Vegetarian

Changbi/Korea. Published January 1, 2015 by Granta UK, Hogarth/ Crown US- 2016, Zulma/France, Saga/ Israel, Taiwan, Korea, Devir Livraria/Brazil, Kwaity Orientu/Poland, Cuon/Japan, Tre Publishing House/Vietnam, Beijing Land of Wisdom/China, Adelphi/Italy. Van Nijgh & Ditmar/Holland.
Translated by Deborah Smith

A beautiful, unsettling novel in three acts, about rebellion and tabook, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul.   Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people.  He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners: she is an uninspiring but dutiful wife.  The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, decides to become a vegetarian, promted by grosteque recurring mightmares.  In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly observed, Yeong-hye’s decision is a shocking act of subversion.  Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism.  His cruelties drive her towards an attempted suicide and hospitalization.  She unknowingly captivates her sister’s husband, a video artist.  She become the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiraling further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming- ecstatically – a tree.    Fraught, disturbing and beautiful, The Vegetarian, is a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and out faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

Human Acts

January 2016.
Changbi/Korea winner of the Manhae Literary Prize, 2014, Max Porter at Portobello Books/Granta ,UK  & Commonwealth, Hogarth/Crown for publication in Feb. 17, Van Nijgh & Ditmar/Holland, Les Serpents a Plume/France, Pax/Norway, Rata/Spain and Catalan.
Translated by Deborah Smith, complete translation available.

Adlephi. Italy: Fall 2016.  Human Acts
Instant Aufbau-German Bestseller. Portobello, UK &Commonwealth, Hogarth, Crown Publising Group/2017,France/Les Serpent a Plume, Van Nijgh & Ditmar, Holland,Norway/Pax, Sweden/Natur & Kultur, Spain/Rata, Finland/Gummerus, Germany/Aufbau Verlag, Japan/ CUON, EdituraArt/Romania.

South Korea, 1980. In the wake of the assassination of military dictator Park Chung Hee, a student uprising in the southern city of Gwangju has been followed by brutal reprisals, and the institution of martial law. 14 year old Dong-ho is searching for his friend Jeong-dae among the ever-increasing bodies when he becomes caught up in events beyond his control, leading to a showdown with the army. 

    Jeong-dae's corpse has been transported out of the city by the military, piled up with several others in a secluded clearing and left to rot in the May sunshine. Tethered to what remains of his body, the boy's consciousness struggles to cling to some form of life through the everyday memories of his sister, whom he senses is also dead, and to Dong-ho, whose life seems to linked to his own sentience – until that, too, is finally snuffed out.   Five years later, the country is now under the thumb of the military dictator Chun Doo Hwan, whose draconian regime of curfews, censorship and plainclothes policemen has ensured that details of the massacre remain hushed up. But the dead, left unburied and unmourned, still haunt the lives of those who survived, who are now starting to risk themselves by pushing against the gag. 

    In this richly-textured elegy of a novel, Han Kang displays a masterful command of tone as she moves between the harsh reality of oppression, dark, disjointed fantasy, and the poetry of the everyday.

 

The White Book

SOLD to Max Porter, Portobello books , Hogarth,US, , Elike Lettingha,Van Nijgh & Ditmar,
Holland- will publish Fall, 2017.
Hogarth, Les Serpents A Plume/France, Devir Livararia/Brazil, Kwaity Orientu/
Poland, Cuon/Japan, Tre Publishing/Vietnam, PBeijing Land of Wisdom/China,
Saga/Israel, Taiwan, Germany: Aufbau, Spain: Rata Fall 2016, Netherlands: Nijgh
& Van Ditmar, Finland/Gummerus 2017, Sweden/Natur och Kultur (Spring 2017)

A new book from the Man Booker International prize-winning author of The Vegetarian: a meditation on the colour white, and on life, death and ritual.
Writing while on a residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things - the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story - unfolds in a powerfully poetic distillation.

This is both the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang.