Reviews tagging 'Classism'

Human Acts, by Han Kang

3 reviews

ka_cam's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


A beautiful and emotionally challenging read, and informative if you like me don’t start with much knowledge about the Gwangju Uprising. The method of exploring voices of different people connected to the uprising and a death of a child, including a spirit voice and the child as well as those more loosely connected, ended up feeling very tender rather than the loose-ends feeling that Can come from that style. Very moving and upsetting content. Highly recommend checking content warnings, highly recommended read.

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feranmi's review against another edition

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dark emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


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wellfedpages's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
‘Conscience, the most terrifying thing in the world’

Conscience creeps in

sometimes unexpectedly

It comes calling out of the blue

Forces itself like a squatter
in a corner of your heart

Refusing to budge

Asking you to speak up
Stand with the truth
Do what’s right
Do what’s needed

Not because you are
Or Better
Or Kinder

But simply because it’s the right thing to do

As Atticus Finch said about courage
‘It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway‘

Fight back
Raise your voice
Refuse to be victims
Refuse to lie down quietly & be mowed over


the most basic human right

Yet the one most trampled upon everywhere

Why do people in power think it’s ok to grind some people to the ground
tire them to their bones
work them to death?




Snatching the bread out of hungry mouths so they can build their mountain of gold
Or bitcoins

Drain the energy out of the world
Drag humanity to the precipice
And push it over the edge



So a few can fly

Around the world
Or to outer space

Kang sheds a light on this through a set of people broken by the Gwangju uprising in S Korea
Interconnected like nerves
Throbbing with the same corrupted life
Dying with the same trauma

Or sometimes becoming worse than dead

Surviving can be a curse

As a character in the book says
to die instantly is a blessing

To live & be
Have your humanity stripped away
Or to live with the ghosts of grief pain & trauma
is far more excruciating

Then memory becomes a landmine
One wrong step can blow up your heart
Your life

Then survival is an act of endurance
Dripping down like helpless rain drops
Into the puddle of life
Or a mirage?

leached out of their bones & seeped into the pages
Into my fingers
Staining my mind

Yet this book has an ephemeral beauty
A weave of words so fine
That the poetry of death floats in our hands
Then hits us with the unwavering truth
Sticky like tar
Heavy like lead

But is it just that?

An ode
to the slain
the mutilated
the brutalised
the living echoes of the dead

An unsung song of hardship

Or is it more?

Was there hope?
For those who choose to remember?
For those who can’t look away?

Do the dead walk in the dark?
Chained to earth

‘Why are we walking in the dark, let’s go over there, where the flowers are blooming.’

Are there flowers blooming?
Will they ever?

‘I read in an interview with someone who had been tortured; they described the after-effects as ‘similar to those experienced by victims of radioactive poisoning.’ Radioactive matter lingers for decades in muscle and bone, causing chromosomes to mutate. Cells turn cancerous, life attacks itself. Even if the victim dies, even if their body is cremated, leaving nothing but the charred remains of bone, that substance cannot be obliterated.’

Flickering amidst the shadows of history
these blackened souls leave their imprints on time
This book reminds us to not desecrate their memory


Never Again

Discovering Han Kang’s writing last year was the most serendipitous find. She is my favourite South Korean writer.
Loved The White Book and The Vegetarian, but this book makes me respect her even more.
Not only her range in writing is expansive and amazing, she has treaded this broken terrain of history beautifully, dredging out the past from little known depths and laid bare the truth with clarity and empathy. We are horrified but also see the humanity of these people
Their erased value
Their dignity
Also a wonderful translation by Deborah Smith

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