Human Acts

A Novel, Nominiert: Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, 2018, Ausgezeichnet: Malaparte Prize, 2017. Winner of the Malaparte Prize 2017

Han Kang

(2)
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?

"Listen to me if you know what's good for you: come back home, right this minute."

You shake your head, trying to rid yourself of the memory, the anger lacing your brother's voice. From the speakers in front of the fountain comes the clear, crisp voice of the young woman holding the microphone. You can't see the fountain from where you're sitting, on the steps leading up to the municipal gymnasium. You'd have to go around to the right of the building if you wanted to have even a distant view of the memorial service. Instead, you resolve to stay where you are, and simply listen.

"Brothers and sisters, our loved ones are being brought here today from the Red Cross hospital."

The woman then leads the crowd gathered in the square in a chorus of the national anthem. Her voice is soon lost in the multitude, thousands of voices piling up on top of one another, a soaring tower of sound rearing up into the sky. The melody surges to a peak, only to swing down again like a pendulum. The low murmur of your own voice is barely audible.

This morning, when you asked how many dead were being transferred from the Red Cross hospital today, Jin-su's reply was no more elaborate than it needed to be: thirty. While the leaden mass of the anthem's refrain rises and falls, rises and falls, thirty coffins will be lifted down from the truck, one by one. They will be placed in a row next to the twenty-eight that you and Jin-su laid out this morning, the line stretching all the way from the gym to the fountain. Before yesterday evening, twenty-six of the eighty-three coffins hadn't yet been brought out for a group memorial service; yesterday evening this number had grown to twenty-eight, when two families had appeared and each identified a corpse. These were then placed in coffins, with a necessarily hasty and improvised version of the usual rites. After making a note of their names and coffin numbers in your ledger, you added "group memorial service" in parentheses; Jin-su had asked you to make a clear record of which coffins had already gone through the service, to prevent the same ones being brought out twice. You'd wanted to go and watch, just this one time, but he told you to stay at the gym.

"Someone might come looking for a relative while the service is going on. We need someone manning the doors."

The others you've been working with, all of them older than you, have gone to the service. Black ribbons pinned to the left-hand side of their chests, the bereaved who have kept vigil for several nights in front of the coffins now follow them in a slow, stiff procession, moving like scarecrows stuffed with sand or rags. Eun-sook had been hanging back, and when you told her, "It's okay, go with them," her laughter revealed a snaggle-tooth. Whenever an awkward situation forced a nervous laugh from her, that tooth couldn't help but make her look somewhat mischievous.

"I'll just watch the beginning, then, and come right back."

Left on your own, you sit down on the steps that lead up to the gym, resting the ledger, an improvised thing whose cover is a piece of black strawboard bent
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Beschreibung

From the internationally bestselling author of The Vegetarian, a “rare and astonishing” (The Observer) portrait of political unrest and the universal struggle for justice.


In 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.

 

An award-winning, controversial bestseller,
Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns tracing the harsh reality of oppression and the resounding, extraordinary poetry of humanity.

Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award
Amazon
, 100 Best Books of 2017
The Atlantic, “The Best Books We Read in 2017”
San Francisco Chronicle, “Best of 2017: 100 Recommended Books”
NPR Book Concierge, 2017’s Great Reads
Library Journal, “Best Books of 2017”
Huffington Post, “Best Fiction Books of 2017”
Medium, Kong Tsung-gan’s “Best Human Rights Books of 2017”

"Compulsively readable, universally relevant and deeply resonant... It lacerates, it haunts, it dreams, it mourns... 'Human Acts' is, in equal parts, beautiful and urgent."-New York Times Book Review

"Human Acts is unique in the intensity and scale of this brutality... [T]he novel details a bloody history that was deliberately forgotten and is only now being recovered."-The Nation

"[Han Kang's] new novel, Human Acts, showcases the same talent for writing about corporeal horrors, this time in the context of the 1980 Gwangju uprising."-TIME Magazine

"Han Kang's Human Acts speak the unspeakable." -Vanity Fair

"The long wake of the killings plays out across the testimonies of survivors as well as the dead, in scenarios both gorily real and beautifully surreal."-Vulture

"Human Acts is stunning. Book reviews evaluate how well a book does what it sets out to do, and so we sometimes write nice things about books that perfectly fulfill trivial aims. Otherwise, we'd always be complaining that romance novels or political thrillers fail to justify the ways of God to men. But Han Kang has an ambition as large as Milton's struggle with God: She wants to reconcile the ways of humanity to itself."-NPR.org

"Engrossing... The result is torturously compelling, a relentless portrait of death and agony that never lets you look away. Han's prose-as translated by Deborah Smith-is both spare and dreamy, full of haunting images and echoing language. She mesmerizes, drawing you into the horrors of Gwangju; questioning humanity, implicating everyone... Unnerving and painfully immediate."-Los Angeles Times

"Revelatory ... nothing short of breathtaking... In the end, what Han has re-created is not just an extraordinary record of human suffering during one particularly contentious period in Korean history, but also a written testament to our willingness to risk discomfort, capture, even death in order to fight for a cause or help others in times of need."-San Francisco Chronicle

"But where Kang excels is in her unflinching, unsentimental descriptions of death. I am hard pressed to think of another novel that deals so vividly and convincingly with the stages of physical decay. Kang's prose does not make for easy reading, but there is something admirable about this clear-eyed rendering of the end of life."-Boston Globe

"Absorbing... Han uses her talents as a storyteller of subtlety and power to bring this struggle out of the middle distance of 'history' and into the intimate space of the irreplaceable human individual."-Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Kang explores the sprawling trauma of political brutality with impressive nuance and the piercing emotional truth that comes with masterful fiction... a fiercely written, deeply upsetting, and beautifully human novel."-Kirkus Reviews

"Kang is an incredible storyteller who raises questions about the purpose of humanity and the constant tension between good and evil through the heartbreaking experiences of her characters. Her poetic language shifts fluidly from different points of view, while her fearless use of raw, austere diction emulates the harsh conflicts and emotions raging throughout the plot. This jarring portrayal of the Gwangju demonstrations will keep readers gripped until the end."-Booklist (starred)

"With Han Kang's The Vegetarian awarded the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, her follow-up will garner extra scrutiny. Bottom line? This new work, again seamlessly translated by Deborah Smith, who also provides an indispensable contextual introduction, is even more stupendous."-Library Journal (starred)

"Pristine, expertly paced, and gut-wrenching... Human Acts grapples with the fallout of a massacre and questions what humans are willing to die for and in turn what they must live through. Kang approaches these difficult and inexorable queries with originality and fearlessness, making Human Acts a must-read for 2017."-Chicago Review of Books

"Though her subject matt

Produktdetails

Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 240
Erscheinungsdatum 17.10.2017
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-1-101-90674-3
Verlag Penguin Random House
Maße (L/B/H) 20.3/13.4/2 cm
Gewicht 211 g
Verkaufsrang 2061

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What is the essence of a person?
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 09.07.2019
Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch

A truly haunting story, which is linked to the author's own life and the Gwangju Uprising (1980s South Korea), meditating on: What is humanity? In how far is cruelty engrained in it? In how far community and conscience? What is the essence of a person and where does it go? How can we learn from history? These and many more impor... A truly haunting story, which is linked to the author's own life and the Gwangju Uprising (1980s South Korea), meditating on: What is humanity? In how far is cruelty engrained in it? In how far community and conscience? What is the essence of a person and where does it go? How can we learn from history? These and many more important, pressing questions are addressed throughout a multitude of previously unheard voices. A moving piece of literature, which is very eloquently written.

Tender, yet shocking
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 18.11.2017
Bewertet: Einband: gebundene Ausgabe

Again novelist Han Kang ('The Vegetarian') created a shocking, yet so tender and touching piece of written art. Her narration of the students uprising in Gwangju 1980 is kind of a portrait of individuals - those who suffer physically as well as those who suffer psychologically. Kangs quiet writing is the perfect form to reme... Again novelist Han Kang ('The Vegetarian') created a shocking, yet so tender and touching piece of written art. Her narration of the students uprising in Gwangju 1980 is kind of a portrait of individuals - those who suffer physically as well as those who suffer psychologically. Kangs quiet writing is the perfect form to remember the cruelty of those dark days.


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