Korean Book Club - The White Book by Han Kang : January Friday 24th 2020

at Penrhyn Road Campus, Kingston University

Writers’ Centre Kingston was very lucky to host a bookclub supported by the Korean Cultural Centre UK. With the Kingston area hosting Europe’s biggest diaspora and Korean literature producing some of the world’s most powerful and original voices, this was a wonderful collaboration for Kingston University staff, students and those local to the area to discuss Han Kang’s remarkable The White Book https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/566130/the-white-book-by-han-kang/

The bookclub was curated by Eunji Lee, SJ Fowler and Eugene Kim


Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white

While on a writer’s residency, a nameless narrator wanders the twin white worlds of the blank page and snowy Warsaw. THE WHITE BOOK becomes a meditation on the color white, as well as a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died in her mother’s arms, a few hours old. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family, an event she colors in stark white–breast milk, swaddling bands, the baby’s rice cake-colored skin–and, from here, visits all that glows in her memory: from a white dog to sugar cubes.

As the writer reckons with the enormity of her sister’s death, Han Kang’s trademark frank and chilling prose is softened by retrospection, introspection, and a deep sense of resilience and love. THE WHITE BOOK–ultimately a letter from Kang to her sister–offers powerful philosophy and personal psychology on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.