Leaves Sprouting on her Body

Adam Mars-Jones

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
    Portobello, 160 pp, £8.99, November 2015, ISBN 978 1 84627 603 3
  • Human Acts by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
    Portobello, 224 pp, £8.99, November 2016, ISBN 978 1 84627 597 5
  • The White Book by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
    Portobello, 128 pp, £10.00, November 2017, ISBN 978 1 84627 629 3

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. The Vegetarian, originally published as three individual though interconnected novellas, builds in complexity as it goes along, though it starts as a paradoxically tidy narrative of social and existential unravelling.

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