Sidharth Vardhan

Of Han Kang’s ‘Human Acts’

(A review of ‘Human Acts’a novel by Han Kang) “I still remember the moment when my gaze fell upon the mutilated face of a young woman, her features slashed through with a bayonet. Soundlessly, and without fuss, some tender thing deep inside me broke. Something that, until then, I hadn’t realised was there.” Han Kang (Human Acts) A semi-fictional account of unnecessarily violent supression of a student uprising in Han Kang’s home town, Gwangju, South Korea in 1980 through point of view of inter-related characters. I guess it would have been brutal to expect another ‘The Vegetarian’ from her but this is beautiful in its own way – showing what it means having to live through such incidences – how it changes the way one sees the world: “Is it true that human beings are fundamentally cruel? Is the experience of cruelty the only thing we share as a species? Is the dignity that we cling to nothing but self-delusion, masking from ourselves the single truth: that each one of us is capable of being reduced to an insect, a ravening beast, a lump of meat? To be degraded, slaughtered – is this the essential of humankind, one which history

Of White Things

(A review of Han Kang’s novel ‘The White Book’, the English translation by Deborah Smith was shortlisted for International Man BookerFirst written on March 15, 2019) “In the spring, when I decided to write about white things the first thing I did was to make a list. Swaddling bands. Newborn gown. Salt. Snow. Ice. Moon. Rice. Waves. Yulan. White bird. “Laughing Whitely”. Blank paper. White dog. White hair. Shroud. With each item I wrote down, a ripple of agitation ran through me. I felt that yes, I needed to write this book and that the process of writing it would be transformative, would itself transform, into something like white ointment applied to a swelling, like gauze laid over a wound …… I step recklessly into time I have not yet lived, into this book I have not yet written. Han Kang (The White Book) Warsaw After World War II Warsaw Now Han Kang is a genius. I could give her a noble prize. This book sits somewhere in the subset between a novel and the act of writing it and a collection of prose-poems and between truth and imagination. The fragments are themed on white objects as the author is

The Vegetarian by Han Kang: An insane desire to be non-violent

(A review of ‘The Vegetarian’a novel by Han KangEnglish translation by Deborah Smith won International Man Booker PrizeFirst written on October 28, 2016) ““Why, is it such a bad thing to die?” Han Kang (The Vegetarian) In ‘The Killing Joke’, Joker (me!) says ‘All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy’. In Han Kang’s International Booker Winner, The Vegetarian, the protagonist Yeong-hye needed only a single dream. Whether it is prompted as an indirect consequence of beatings she got from her father, the memories of which had long remained latent in her subconscious, or something else; the dream made her resolved to become a Vegetarian. The sight of meat fills her with disgust she has for the violence – which goes with my theory that madness is sometimes seeing things too clearly. She shows similar disgust for sex and again, tries to commit suicide when her father tries to force-feed her. Joker, the clown criminal from The Batman comics sidharth vardhan review analysis the vegetarian han kang But violence is essential to human life, as an old Indian saying goes ‘we kill as we breathe’. And thus, an artistic adventure she undertook for

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