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The White Book (2016)

de Han Kang

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2751475,205 (3.83)37
From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian comes a stunning meditation on the colour white; about light, about death and about ritualFrom the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The VegetarianBoth the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang. Written while on a writer's residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things - the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story - unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation. As she walks the unfamiliar, snow-streaked streets, lined by buildings formerly obliterated in the Second World War, their identities blur and overlap as the narrator wonders, 'Can I give this life to you?'. The White Book is a book like no other. It is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.(photographs in print edition only)… (més)
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» Mira també 37 mencions

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White is the color of death and the thread of a dying child winds all through this contemplation? study? meditation? on the color white and the associations related to white things. Is stream of consciousness still a thing? I understand The White Book is considered flash fiction. From the white of a rice cake, to a babies face, to the color of the blossoms of a shrub planted to honor the dead, the emotional meaning of those things and events is pondered. This is best read in small snippets because it's a lot to take in and ruminate upon. Wonderfully thoughtful. ( )
  varielle | Nov 1, 2020 |
I love Han Kang’s writing and this was no exception.

Meditations on the colour white, but also of death, of life, of breath, of rebirth were captured in short pieces of flash fiction. Some of which really took my breath away and some of which, unfortunately, I think, due to the nature of the text, were a little more forgettable.

This is perhaps one of her more hopeful works. Kang writes a lot about violence and human violence and incidental violence but this feels more tender, more fleeting, more quiet.

Snow, salt, sea spray, a baby as small as a rice cake.

Fog, cold breath in the morning, snowflakes melting on coat sleeves, all on painfully white pages.

I wish more of it stuck with me, but I love her language still. ( )
  lydia1879 | Feb 1, 2020 |
I loved this book. It definitely reads more like poetry then prose, but that was a nice change in my usual reading material. ( )
  duchessjlh | Sep 4, 2019 |
Audio. Very calm. But i was not in the right mindset to really appreciate it ( )
  kakadoo202 | May 18, 2019 |
It has taken me a while to finish. Rather like a good book of poetry, each piece needs to be savored before one moves on. Written while the author was at a writer's retreat in Warsaw, it has been described as a meditation on white, and that is as good a description as any. Looking at it from this angle, it seems very much like a writing exercise. Each short piece--some only a paragraph, the longest a few pages--observes and reflects on something white: a dog, snow, wings, breast milk, lace curtains, a shroud, paper, etc. Underlying many of these meditations is a sense of loss, of mourning for the older sister who died only a few hours after her premature birth.

It was useful to look up the symbolism of the color white in Korean culture: "White is the most commonly used color in Korea. Koreans were sometimes referred to as the white clad people. Historically, commoners wore white hanboks, a traditional Korean form of attire. Only royalty and the upper class were permitted to wear colorful hanboks. White is still worn for weddings, new years celebrations and funerals to celebrate the journey to the afterlife, the color white symbolizes purity, innocence, peace and patriotism. Traditionally, white represents the element metal and the direction West." (I expected that, as in Japanese culture, white was the color of death; it is not.) There are some obvious connections to the meditations as Han Kang reflects on the innocent life lost, on mourning, and on healing.

If you are familiar this author's other books, The Vegetarian and Human Acts, expect the same beautiful writing, minus the violence, in condensed form. Don't expect a strong linear plot or a political message, and give each piece time to do its work. Accept the book for what it is, a meditation and an opening of the heart and mind. ( )
3 vota Cariola | May 4, 2019 |
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From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian comes a stunning meditation on the colour white; about light, about death and about ritualFrom the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The VegetarianBoth the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang. Written while on a writer's residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things - the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story - unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation. As she walks the unfamiliar, snow-streaked streets, lined by buildings formerly obliterated in the Second World War, their identities blur and overlap as the narrator wonders, 'Can I give this life to you?'. The White Book is a book like no other. It is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.(photographs in print edition only)

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