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Leaves Sprouting on her Body

Adam Mars-Jones: Han Kang, 5 April 2018

The Vegetarian 
by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith.
Portobello, 160 pp., £8.99, November 2015, 978 1 84627 603 3
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Human Acts 
by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith.
Portobello, 224 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 84627 597 5
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The White Book 
by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith.
Portobello, 128 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 1 84627 629 3
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... Han Kang​ won the International Man Booker Prize in 2016 for The Vegetarian and The White Book is the second novel of hers to be published in English since then. This rate of publication telescopes the appearance of her books in the original Korean (The Vegetarian was published in that language in 2007) but even so her development has been rapid, with remarkably little overlap of theme or manner between the first and third books of this little splurge of publishing activity ...

His Eyes, Her Voice

Ange Mlinko: ‘Greek Lessons’, 10 August 2023

Greek Lessons 
by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith and Emily Yae Won.
Hamish Hamilton, 146 pp., £16.99, April, 978 0 241 60027 6
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... was encompassed. It was a nightmare so vivid as to leave her back drenched in sweat.’Readers of Han Kang will recognise that this hyper-intuitive woman bears a resemblance to Yeong-hye, the protagonist of The Vegetarian (2007), who makes a ruthless break with her husband, family and society, and ends up in a psychiatric facility. Just another ...

Somewhere in the Web

Michael Dillon: Uyghur Identity, 5 January 2023

The Great Dispossession: Uyghurs between Civilisations 
by Ildiko Bellér Hann and Chris Hann.
Lit Verlag, 296 pp., £35, February, 978 3 643 91367 8
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How I Survived a Chinese ‘Re-education’ Camp: A Uyghur Woman’s Story 
by Gulbahar Haitiwaji and Rozenn Morgat, translated by Edward Gauvin.
Canbury, 250 pp., £18.99, February, 978 1 912454 90 7
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The Chief Witness: Escape from China’s Modern-Day Concentration Camps 
by Sayragul Sauytbay and Alexandra Cavelius, translated by Caroline Waight.
Scribe, 320 pp., £16.99, May 2021, 978 1 913348 60 1
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In the Camps: Life in China’s High-Tech Penal Colony 
by Darren Byler.
Atlantic, 152 pp., £12.99, February, 978 1 83895 592 2
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... Their appearance and the dry and dusty setting was more reminiscent of the Middle East than China. Han Chinese friends and colleagues had been telling me for years how different Xinjiang was from the rest of China; Muslims were lihai, ‘fierce’, and the Uyghurs fiercest of all. It was in Turpan that I first began to appreciate what was distinctive about ...

Joint by Joint

Clare Bucknell: Gu Byeong-mo, 1 December 2022

The Old Woman with the Knife 
by Gu Byeong-mo, translated by Chi-Young Kim.
Canongate, 281 pp., £14.99, March 2022, 978 1 83885 643 4
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... pointedly average experiences of harassment and workplace sexism; or Yeong-hye, the housewife in Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (2007), described approvingly by her husband as ‘the most run-of-the-mill woman in the world’. ‘Middling height; bobbed hair neither long nor short … She made for a completely ordinary wife who went about things without ...

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