The White Book: Book summary and reviews of The White Book by Han Kang

The White Book

by Han Kang

The White Book by Han Kang X
The White Book by Han Kang
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2019
    160 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white.

While on a writer's residency, a nameless narrator wanders the twin white worlds of the blank page and snowy Warsaw. The White Book becomes a meditation on the color white, as well as a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died in her mother's arms, a few hours old. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family, an event she colors in stark white - breast milk, swaddling bands, the baby's rice cake-colored skin - and, from here, visits all that glows in her memory: from a white dog to sugar cubes.

As the writer reckons with the enormity of her sister's death, Han Kang's trademark frank and chilling prose is softened by retrospection, introspection, and a deep sense of resilience and love.The White Book - ultimately a letter from Kang to her sister - offers powerful philosophy and personal psychology on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

"Starred Review. Kang's masterful voice is captivating and nothing short of brilliant." - Booklist

"With eloquence and grace, Han breathes life into loss and fills the emptiness with this new work, a Man Booker International short-lister fluidly Anglophoned by Han's three-time collaborator Smith." - Library Journal

"[A] riveting practitioner of the surreal and of historical fiction alike...a contemplation of life, death, resilience and, as the title hints, color." - Huffington Post

"A brilliant psychogeography of grief, moving as it does between place, history and memory... Poised and never flinches from serene dignity... The White Book is a mysterious text, perhaps in part a secular prayer book... Translated peerlessly by Smith, [it] succeeds in reflecting Han's urgent desire to transcend pain with language." - The Guardian (UK)

This information about The White Book shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Han Kang

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as a novelist in 1994. A participant in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Award, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Prize for Literature. She currently works as a professor in the department of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

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