Tuesday Intro: Human Acts by Han Kang

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I’m reading Human Acts by Han Kang, whose book The Vegetarian was one of my favourite books of last year and still haunts me now.  Here’s what Human Acts is about…

30091914In 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.

And here’s how it starts

The Boy, 1980

Looks like rain,” you mutter to yourself.

What’ll we do if it really chucks it down?

You open your eyes so that only a slender chink of light seeps in, and peer at the gingko trees in front of the Provincial Office. As though there, between those branches, the wind is about to take on visible form. As though the raindrops suspended in the air, held breath before the plunge, are on the cusp of trembling down, glittering like jewels.

When you open your eyes properly, the trees’ outlines dim and blur. You’re going to need glasses before long. This thought gets briefly disturbed by the whooping and applause that breaks out from the direction of the fountain. Perhaps your sight’s as bad now as it’s going to get, and you’ll be able to get away without glasses after all?

What do you think – I appreciate this book might not be for everyone but would you keep on reading?



  1. I have read neither of the books mentioned, but am keen to check out this author. I would continue based on the snippet you’ve shared. Sounds like it could be quite a powerful read based on the blurb. I hope you like this book as much as the one last year.


  2. Oh yes! From the blurb you shared and the opening, this sounds like something I might really like. I haven’t read The Vegetarian, and for awhile wasn’t all that interested, but the more I hear about it, the more interested I become. Human Acts appeals to me even more though, so I definitely would keep reading. It sounds powerful.


    • It is very vivid and the image it creates are so powerful. I think you have to be in the mood to read it and it still won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I just love the writing and I feel like I am learning something about another culture.


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