We are pleased to offer for review ‘Human Acts: A Novel‘ by Han Kang (Portobello Books, 2016). Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities.
Human Acts is a riveting, poetic and unrelentingly powerful examination of humanity at its most appalling, and its most hopeful. It is an act of extraordinary resistance and a refusal to forget.
In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma. Throughout Human Acts the ghost memory of the boy Dong-Ho wanders, refusing to disappear, and so in turn other characters refuse to stop asking ‘Why?’ Why does power exert itself with brutality? Why does the state silence the enquiries of the bereaved? Why does remembrance pose such a threat to the powerful?
Human Acts is a radically brave novel about an atrocious episode in Korean history, but it is also a universal book, utterly modern but profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.
If you would like to review ‘Human Acts‘ (no more than 1,000 words in length), then please consult our reviewer’s guidelines and email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.