Thursday, April 11, 2019

The White Book by Han Kang

The White Book
by Han Kang

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2019
Publisher: Hogarth
Genre: Literary, Korea
Hardback: 160
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
In the spring, when I decided to write about white things, the first thing I did was make a list.

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.

My two-bits:

I felt enveloped in white when I read this. There are different iterations of snow in several forms as well as a theme of loss.


  1. Sounds good overall! I feel like it would invoke a lot of feelings

  2. Interesting way to write about coming to terms with things. Yes, lots of white.


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