The events that inspired Human Acts took place more than two decades ago, but still sits uncomfortably close to home. Han Kang's third translated novel holds nothing back in this fictional retelling of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising in S. Korea that lead to a massacre of hundreds of civilian protesters in an attempt to suppress civil unrest in the city, and of the aftermath in which future generations are almost blissfully unaware of the atrocities that occurred just 20 years prior.
This wasn't an easy book to stomach, but an absolutely necessary read, especially given these times when history seems insistent on repeating itself.
— From Avery
Amazon, 100 Best Books of 2017
The Atlantic, "The Best Books We Read in 2017"
San Francisco Chronicle, "Best of 2017: 100 Recommended Books"
NPR Book Concierge, 2017's Great Reads
Library Journal, "Best Books of 2017"
Huffington Post, "Best Fiction Books of 2017"
Medium, Kong Tsung-gan's "Best Human Rights Books of 2017"
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.