Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend’s corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma.
Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.
Translated by Deborah Smith
Published: 3 November 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 224 pages
Video : Han Kang In Conversation
18th May 2016
Han Kang, winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, came in to the Granta and Portobello offices to help design the paperback cover for Human Acts. While she was here she spoke with her editor Max Porter about how book covers reflect cultures, and why she decided to write about the massacre of Gwangju. ‘It’s because of my unending question about being human.’