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The White Book (Paperback)
  • The White Book (Paperback)
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The White Book (Paperback)

(author), (translator)
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£9.99
Paperback 128 Pages
Published: 05/04/2018
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2018

‘Memory is complicated, but the colour white is not, and Kang’s painful, exquisite story… is a philosophical lament for all the shades of life in between.’ – The Irish Times

Han Kang’s The Vegetarian – her mesmeric tale of authoritarian control and individual desire – claimed the Man Booker International Prize of 2016 and sealed her global recognition.

Kang now returns with The White Book, a gossamer-delicate meditation on mortality and meaning. The death of the author’s own baby sister – who passed only two hours after her birth – provides the gravitational centre to a volume that similarly focuses on the white, the iconography of mourning and remembrance.

Throughout, the identity of the narrator remains unknown: this is not a book of identities but, as the Guardian puts it, ‘a brilliant psychogeography of grief… The White Book is a mysterious text, perhaps in part a secular prayer book.’

Written in spare, tender sections, we discover the sparse intimacies of the narrator’s life; chapters vary from slivers of verse to self-contained gasps of narrative. The whole is deeply evocative, gilded as ever by Deborah Smith’s sensitive translation. In her third collaboration with the author (the second being the extraordinary Human Acts), Smith is less translator than essential interlocutor to Kang’s craft.

Publisher: Granta Books
ISBN: 9781846276958
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 250 g
Dimensions: 198 x 131 x 13 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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 seamlessly by Smith, The White Book succeeds in reflecting Han's urgent desire to transcend pain with language - Deborah Levy, Guardian

Wonderful. A quietly gripping contemplation on life, death and the existential impact of those who have gone before - Eimear McBride

The White Book is a profound and precious thing, its language achingly intimate, each image haunting and true. It is a remarkable achievement. Han Kang is a genius - Lisa McInerney

There is beauty and pain in every sentence and image, made sharper by their simplicity and aching honesty - New Internationalist

Each [chapter] is a miniature work of art in its own right... there is a crispness to [Han's] pieces evocative of the stark luminescence of white... This is a book you want to underline and highlight every other line or word as you read, yet every time I went to make my mark, my pencil hovered over the margins - deep as drifts of pillow-white snow - as I remained reticent to taint the perfect whiteness in front of me. The White Book is a shimmering, evocative work. Smith's peerless translation captures every last tiny nuance, the resultant prose so beautiful and affecting that it stops you in your tracks - Lucy Scholes, National UAE

A fragile work of literature - Live Mint

Delicate and thoughtful and concise and dense and strong; this is the kind of writing I like to read slowly - Jon McGregor, Guardian

An astonishingly rendered work of fiction... Precise, subversive, fierce and deceptively opaque... A sublime expression of grief's incongruous byways, its busy inactivity, its larger, more elaborate intrusions - Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

[Han] in her new work transgresses literary convention and examines the constellation of pain at the heart of her mother's first pregnancy... Shot through with pain and paradox [...] Kang transforms obliteration into promise. Loss and living are counterpointed, neither meaning revoked - Katherine Waters, Arts Desk

[An] astonishing novel... with such tenderness [that] incites us to examine our own experience and place in the world... It's a profound piece of work [...] that is as much concerned with what is unsaid and omitted, as what is revealed... Han's painful, exquisite story is a philosophical lament for all the shades of life - Sinead Gleeson, Irish Times

Incantatory... The White Book reveals Han to be an innovative author committed to formal experimentation... Intensely personal, hypnotically serene, and mournfully meditative, Han's thanatopsis reminds readers of the revivifying power of memory and the extent to which we are uniquely endowed within the natural world to withstand the vagaries of forgetfulness and life's nagging ephemerality - Brian Haman, Asian Review of Books

An intensely emotional series of accounts that form an outline of losses which are invisible, but still palpably felt - Eric Anderson, Lonesome Reader

Evocative and beautifully laconic, this book is about belonging, grief and the sensory experience of being alive - Book Riot

A brilliant psychogeography - Deborah Levy

A tender evocation of grief and absence... Han Kang is a real artist - Irish Times

Formally daring, emotionally devastating and deeply political - Katie Kitamura, International New York Times

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“Transient Writing”

I absolutely love the writing of Han Kang. Human Acts is a deeply affecting book and The Vegetarian is one of my favourite recommendations because I can guarantee that it is unlike anything else.

The White Book is a... More

Paperback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 62

“Like poetry from another world”

I was fascinated by the title- it being so simple, yet a pure amazing piece of work like no other; that, I have ever read.
It covers nearly everything in life and even death.

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 44
Léa at Brighton

“I am in AWE”

The White Book is a superb account of humanity, the simplicity of life, mourning, loss and the mundane. It will leave you absolutely in awe yet equally melancholic

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 18

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