Human Acts

Human Acts

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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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.
Publisher: New York : Hogarth, 2016
ISBN: 9781101906736
Characteristics: text file, rda

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Feb 17, 2018

// The souls of the departed are watching us. Their eyes are wide open. \\
Well chosen words to convey the unfolding scenes of grief and horror during the Gwangju Uprising, a precursor to democracy in South Korea.
Although a fictionalized account, the author, Han Kang, recipient of many literary awards and a poet, lived in Gwangju during that period and provides a powerful rendering of events, the emotional spectrum of heroic people sacrificing their lives for the greater good!

vm510 Jan 11, 2018

I don't mind the heavy subjects in Han Kang's books and I also learned a lot reading this book. I kept thinking throughout how easily the state - and the humans who carry out the state's violence - can torture, maim, and kill citizens. I kept thinking about the unending pain and sorrow people feel after experiencing violence (PTSD, dreams) or after losing someone close to them to state-sanctioned violence.
My qualms with this book have more to do with the different narrators, who go through wretched and horrible things, but who I rarely felt connected to. The Vegetarian also used multiple narrators, but unlike Human Acts, I felt way more connected to The Vegetarian's characters and compelled to finish without stopping. Many people enjoy Human Acts' message and storytelling better than The Vegetarian, though, so I might be alone in this.

Cynthia_N Jan 04, 2018

I can't say that I enjoyed reading this one but it was very powerful and moving.

Nov 05, 2017

“ was only when we were shattered that we proved we had souls.” -Han Kang, Human Acts

“Why are we walking in the dark, let’s go over there, where the flowers are blooming. “ -Han Kang, Human Acts

“Please’ write your book so that no one will ever be able to desecrate my brother’s memory again. “ -Han Kang, Human Acts

A brilliant, masterful, poignant novel. It underscores the fact that oppressive regimes can destroy the lives of decent, hardworking people but not their soul. Essential reading today when the indolent POTUS can make flip remarks about destroying North Korea and killing thousands; and likely causing death and unimaginable suffering from collateral damage to South Koreans, Japanese, and others, including Americans.

Marlowe Apr 21, 2017

Han offers the reader a glimpse into the horrific acts of violence surrounding the 1980 Gwangju uprising in South Korea, and their aftermath. Through multiple perspectives, the reader learns of the totalitarian violence, the omnipresence of fear, and cult of memory, that arose. The stories are separate, but usually have a connection through characters, places, or events. It can occasionally be difficult to understand the narrator's voice. The author has a unique use of the pronoun "you." This is a beautiful and sad historical fiction, about a time and place in history I was unaware of.

Apr 08, 2017

I reserved and then waited for weeks for this book. However vs The vegetarian which I read only in 2-3 readings, I cannot finish this book and return this after 1 week. The background and the characters in this novel make it difficult to continue reading...

Mar 01, 2017

This book does well in conversation with The Vegetarian. Heartbreakingly sad and graphic, but to a point it is difficult to put down instead of too much to keep reading. Han Kang strikes the balance between displaying atrocity without being overbearing on the reader. Her epilogue really brought the story into perspective.

Feb 13, 2017

The historic 1980 student uprising in Gwangju, South Korea sets the place for Kang's story. The reader is taken deep into the tragedy and torture experienced by various individuals - The Boy, The Editor, The Boy's Friend, The Prisoner,......each a victim of the brutality. Varying time periods and narrative of the character's background gives the reader brief respite from the horrific nature of the events. Kangs writing style is compelling enough to continue reading despite the violence and grief.


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