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Han Kang Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Vegetarian (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Human Acts (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Novellas/Short Stories

Convalescence (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Han Kang is a well-known writer from South Korea, who is famous writing fiction novels. She is the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize that was awarded to her for her widely popular book called The Vegetarian. This novel deals with the decision of a woman to stop consuming meat and the devastating consequences it has on her. Han had first written the novel in Korean and it is among her initial novels to have been translated into English. Han is the daughter of a renowned South Korean novelist named Han Seung-won. She was born on November 27, 1970, in Gwangju, South Korea. When she was 10 years old, her family shifted to Suyuri, Seoul. Han has so fond of Suyuri that she has spoken words of affection about the place in her book called Greek Lessons. She completed her graduation in Korean literature at the Yonsei University. Han’s brother, Han Dong Rim, is also a novelist like her.

Author Han began her career when a poem written by her had featured in Literature & Society’s winter issue. A year later, Han made her official debut with a short story called The Scarlet Anchor. With this entry, Han had participated in the spring literary competition called Seoul Shinmun and won. Since then, Han has penned numerous novels and stories and has won several prestigious awards like Yi Sang Prize, Young Artist Award, Korena Literature Award, etc. In addition to working as a novelist, Han is also involved in teaching creative writing. She is employed at the Seoul Arts Institute. So far, she has written and published 5 novels and is currently writing the 6th novel on her career. Han has said that she has migraine problem, but states this problem helps to keep her humble. She even credits a migraine as the reason behind her decision of taking up writing as a career.

Author Han’s debut story, A Love of Yeosu, was released in 1995. It attracted a lot of attention because of its tight narration and precise writing. She wrote Mongolian Mark and The Vegetarian completely by hand because she had weakened her wrist with the overuse of a computer keyboard. During her college days, Han was highly inspired by Yi Sang poetry that helped her to write the most successful work of her career, The Vegetarian. Before the English translation of this novel by Deborah Smith, Han had already gained worldwide attention. The translation attracted some controversy, but still, it went on to win the Man Booker Prize. Han became the first writer from Korea to receive a nomination for this award. Han started by writing 5 poems and publishing them in 1993. A few other works followed later, after which she enrolled herself in a program in the International Writing Program at the Iowa University in 1998. The list of published works by author Han includes novels like Fire Salamander, Fruits of My Woman, Your Cold Hand, Breath Fighting, The Black Deer, Greek Lessons, Human Acts, The White book, The Vegetarian, etc. Besides, she has also penned several essay books and poetry. Other than being a writer, Han is also a talented musician and has interests in the arts. Many of her works often reflect these interests of hers.

In Your Cold Hand, Han has described the tale of a sculptor and his relationship with his model. Along with her 2007 essay book called Quietly Sung Songs, Han released a 10-song CD that she wrote, composed, and recorded on her own. Initially, it was not her intention to sing, but on the insistence of a music director named Han Jung Rim, she ended up recording the songs. Han’s 1999 novella, Baby Buddha, is the winner of the Korean Novel Award. The Vegetarian and Baby Buddha have been adapted into movies. The adaptation of The Vegetarian was selected for inclusion in a prestigious film festival in North America. This film became a critical success. The most recent work of Han is an autobiography known as The White Book. It is centered around the death of her elder sister, who died just 2 hours after she was born. Han likes to give the credit for her success to her parents and her close friends, who have always supported her. She hopes to keep writing inspiring novels for many more years to come and entertaining her fans for as long as she can.

A very popular book written by author Han Kang is entitled ‘The Vegetarian’. This novel was released first released in 2007 and then re-released in 2016 by the Hogarth Press. Author Han has mentioned the central characters in this novel as Kim In-hye and Kim Yeong-hye. At the novel’s start, it is mentioned that Yeong-hye lived a simple life with her husband In-hye before she starts getting nightmares. She begins to get haunted by blood-soaked, splintering images in her sleep. When such nightmares begin to happen frequently, Yeong-hye decides to get her mind purged by renouncing eating meat. This decision of Yeong-hye is taken as a shock by others. Later, the passive rebellion of Yeong-hye takes a more frightening and extreme form, and abuse, estrangement, and scandal begin to take place around her. As a result, she is sent deep into the web of her own fantasies. And in her attempt of carrying out the metamorphosis of her body and mind, Yeong-hye is taken far away from her known self tragically and ecstatically. This book was received very well the by readers because of its original story, rich content, and believable characters.

Another excellent book penned by Han is called ‘Human Acts’. It was also published by the Hogarth publication in 2017. The lead characters of this novel are Dong-ho, Jeong-dae, and several others. The setting is done in the Republic of Korea in 1980. The story introduces Dong-ho as a 15-year-old boy and the best friend of Jeong-dae. When they are carrying out a demonstration against the government, Jeong-dae gets killed along with a few other people. Dong-hoe runs away to save himself and later feels the guilt of leaving Jeong-dae behind to die. When the dead bodies are brought to a local gymnasium for the families of the deceased to identify, Dong-ho also goes there to find his friend among the dead. After a short while, he decides to volunteer and joins the rebellion. He is later killed by the government troops. Han based this story on the real historical event of Gwangju Uprising. She has tried to explain how the reverberations of that fateful event are felt even today.

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