Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “흰” as Want to Read:
흰
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,272 ratings  ·  469 reviews
한강 소설. 결코 더럽혀지지 않는, 절대로 더럽혀질 수가 없는 어떤 흰 것에 관한 이야기이다. 작가로부터 불려나온 흰 것의 목록은 총 65개의 이야기로 파생되어 '나'와 '그녀'와 '모든 흰'이라는 세 개의 부 아래 스미어 있다. 한 권의 소설이지만 때론 65편의 시가 실린 한 권의 시집으로 읽힘에 손색이 없는 것이 각 소제목 아래 각각의 이야기들이 그 자체로 밀도 있는 완성도를 자랑하기 때문이다.

"익숙하고도 지독한 친구 같은 편두통"에 시달리는 '나'가 있다. 나에게는 죽은 제 어머니가 스물세 살에 낳았다 태어난 지 두 시간 만에 죽었다는 '언니'의 사연이 있다. 지난봄 누군가 나에게 물었다. "당신이 어릴 때, 슬픔과 가까워지는 어떤 경험을 했느냐고." 그
...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published May 25th 2016 by 난다
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,272 ratings  ·  469 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Music is often associated with memory. I often hear a song and I’m taken back to a time, to a place, to a person, to an experience that I never will be able to regain: to a moment that song embodies that will forever be lost in the endless river of life. For Han Kang the colour white has a similar effect; it mashes open the floodgates to her mind and drops torrents of memory over the body of her writing.

"Why do old memories constantly drift to the surface?"

Because they never leave us. Because
...more
Amalia Gavea
‘’I hold nothing dear. Not the place where I live, not the door I pass through every day, not even, damn it, my life.’’

In the beautiful, mysterious world of colours white retains an exceptional position. White is purity, light, clarity, sanctity, fragility. White is the symbol of the union between two people and the colour of mourning in East Asian culture. In Greece, white is the colour of purity and the sun. The houses in our islands are white-washed to reflect its rays. In China, white is w
...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a difficult book to describe, difficult to review. A very unconventional narrative, but the writing is just gorgeous. Sad at times, a reflection on the sister that she never knew using the color white. Descriptions of the feelings these things invoke, politics, reminders of the past, present. Meaningful. Things that make one ponder, ask questions.

Lace curtain. "Is it because of some billowing whiteness within us, unsullied, inviolate, that our encounters with objects so pristine never fail
...more
Elyse Walters
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 3rd book I’ve read by Han Kang, a phenomenal contemporary Korean writer. ‘The Vegetarian’.....was fierce with haunting prose making it very hard to put down. It was gut-wrenching painful for me personally having survived the horrific years when our daughter was starving herself to death.....
Yet....I knew I was reading something brilliant. I became an instant fan of Han Kang.

The next book I read by this young exceptional author was ‘Human Acts’. It was brutal.... one that I continued
...more
Hannah
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am quite unsure how to review this brilliant little book. I think it is something that needs to be experienced rather than read about. Told in a series of very short musings on different white things, Han Kang circles her own grief and Warsaw’s scarred history in a way that I found absolutely moving. I read the book mostly in one sitting (it is very short) and can only recommend doing that. This way the interplay between the blank spaces on the page, the photography, and the writing worked to ...more
Hugh
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short and intensely personal and poetic meditation but a very difficult one to encapsulate in a review.

The starting point is a simple list of white things but the book is haunted by many darker undertones. I am not sure how much I understood but it felt profoundly human, spare and elegant, every word charged.

This is my second book from the Man Booker International longlist (I had already read Die, My Love and bought this one before it was announced).
Bianca
Hmm ...

I don't know what to make of this book.

It's elegant, in a minimalist, subdued kind of way.

The font size is minuscule, there's a lot of white space and empty pages.

There are some nice passages, but also a whole lot of simple, simplistic, and "I don't get the point" kind of writing - writing for the sake of writing, or better said, I was reading it and not getting much out of it, despite wanting to.

I don't know - it's one of those "concept books".

You definitely have to be in the right ki
...more
Paul Fulcher
Now shortlisted for the Man Booker International - and alongside Flights, one of the two outstanding remaining books:

"제발 죽지마. 한 시간쯤 더 흘러 아기는 죽었다.
죽은 아기를 가슴에 품고 모로 누워 그 몸이 점점 싸늘해지는 걸 견뎠다.

더이상 눈물이 흐르지 않았다."

"For God's sake don't die. Around an hour later, the baby was dead.
They lay there on the kitchen floor, my mother on her side with the dead baby clutched to her chest, feeling the cold gradually enter into the flesh, sinking through to the bone.

No more crying. "

Chapter 5 of 한강 (Han Kang's) qu
...more
Michael
This comes across as a series of meditations on things that are white, written as vignettes in probing and poignant language you could call prose poetry. I was delighted with the majority of more than 60 pieces, most 1-2 pages long, as wonderful play with metaphors of white. But I was also drawn past delight to accommodation to dark and melancholy paths. The narrator, reflecting back from elderly years, is sharing how she comes to terms with many sources of suffering through the power of languag ...more
Moi Baltazar
"I hold nothing dear. Not the place where I live, not the door I pass through every day, not even, damn it, my life."


Why you keep on doing this to me, Han Kang? Why? This is the 3rd time you have aesthetically broken my heart and I loved it!
Gumble's Yard
In the spring, when I decided to write about white things the first thing I did was to make a list.

Swaddling bands. Newborn gown. Salt. Snow. Ice. Moon. Rice. Waves. Yulan. White bird. “Laughing Whitely”. Blank paper. White dog. White hair. Shroud.

With each item I wrote down, a ripple of agitation ran through me. I felt that yes, I needed to write this book, and that the process of writing it would be transformative, would itself transform, into something like white ointment applied to a swel
...more
Marjorie
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The narrator of this book doesn’t have a name in the book, although it’s no secret that this is an autobiographical work by this author and is a love letter to her long deceased older sister. The book starts with a list of white items, including swaddling bands, newborn gown, snow, ice and shroud. This book is a series of very short chapters consisting of meditation-like bursts of thoughts. Running through these thoughts is the story of the author’s young mother whose first child died only a cou ...more
Eric Anderson
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been thrilling to see the recent high acclaim and popularity for Han Kang’s powerful distinctive writing. She won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 for “The Vegetarian” and her novel “Human Acts” is one of the most devastating portrayals of the victims and survivors of mass warfare that I’ve read. Even though she’s been publishing fiction in her native South Korea since 1995, Kang’s writing has only recently been made widely available to a Western audience through Deborah Smith’s e ...more
Neil
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is sublimely beautiful and heart-breaking. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when I read these words:

"If you can come to us now, then do. Slip on those clothes that the fire has borne to you, like slipping on a pair of a wings. Drink it like medicine or tea, our silence, dissolving into smoke in place of words."

Written like that, with no context, you may wonder why the outpouring of emotion. But this is a meditation on the death of the (unnamed) narrator’s baby sister, born before
...more
Doug
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Kang's acclaimed 'The Vegetarian', and this was so totally different in both format and style, that it came as something of a surprise. And while I could certainly 'appreciate' what she does here, I must say the results left me rather ... cold and indifferent; even though the sad event that occasions her musings here are something I can relate to, having had a stillborn older sibling myself.

Partially this has do to my dislike for spare poetic meditations, but may also be due to
...more
Kamil
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Han Kang and Deborah Smith are a match made in heaven. I feel its genius every time I finish reading any of Kang's books in Smith's translation.
This one is a very special to me. The City she refers to in White Book, is my hometown, Warsaw.
The book at its core is a meditation on grief. Kang juxtaposes City surrounded by neverending grief after thousands of its inhabitants were killed during Warsaw uprising and herself grieving after a sister, who died two hours after birth.
Kang has been said to
...more
Maxwell
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, translated, 2019
I didn't connect with this one, unfortunately. I really enjoyed the previous two novels I read by Han Kang and was looking forward to reading this. However, it is quite a different style than her more traditional novels. This is an examination of the color white, paralleled with the story of a woman who loses her baby hours after it is born. It re-imagines that baby's life in tandem with the narrator's own life who came into existence only because her older sibling did not survive. It's a very m ...more
Blair
This short book is structured as a series of meditations on 'white things', from snow and white birds to the more abstract: silence; spirit; the concept of 'laughing whitely', a Korean phrase which describes forced, mirthless laughter. The narrator is living in an unfamiliar country, where she knows little of the language, and finds herself reflecting on the brief life and death of her sister – a baby her mother delivered herself at the age of 22; a child who lived for mere moments. The narrator ...more
Rachel
The White Book is Han Kang's autobiographical meditation on the death of her newborn sister, who lived only for two hours. It's a difficult book to review because it's a difficult book to categorize. Part novel, part memoir, part poetry collection, The White Book ultimately comes together to form a poised and tender examination of grief and the transient nature of life and death.

If you've read The Vegetarian or Human Acts you'll know exactly what to expect from Kang's economical and unsentimenta
...more
Calzean
Very emotional set of words which mainly covers the death of her elder sister after only two hours of life. It is told through a series of very short scenes covering memories or events which all have something with the colour white in common. Sprinkled amongst the pages are some stark photographs which add to the general feeling of loneliness and loss. Hats off to the translator who was able to capture the author's rhythms and emotions amongst the sparsely used words.
Ana
Much annotated and very much loved. Han Kang’s words through Deborah Smith’s skilful touch are, as always, a different kind of magic!
Yoda
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The White Book is calm and beautiful read, I love it and cannot wait to read the vegetarian.
Konstantin
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartfelt, raw, pure.
Viv JM
It is very difficult to describe this book! It is a series of short meditations/poetry themed around the colour white, with a thread of grief running through. The translation reads seamlessly, and the whole effect is beautiful and haunting.
Callum McAllister
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The comparisons to Maggie Nelson's Bluets will be pretty inevitable and unsurprising but here it is: this reminded me of Bluets. Although, that's only in terms of its form. It's a novel (?) written in fragments and unified thematically by meditation on the colour white.

While I read it as a novel, and not a memoir or a book of poems, it plays with that cross-pollination of genre. Some reviews have taken the details of Han Kang's life to take it as red that this is very much a memoir, but using d
...more
Zak
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved "The Vegetarian" and "Human Acts" and was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. I felt the words didn't manage to bring out the emotions behind her message of loss.
Sarah
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 한국, fiction, poetry
Somewhere between 3 and 3.5, rounded down

Three stars may seem low but this is by far my favourite book I've read by Han Kang. While I definitely admired Human Acts, something didn't quite come together. And I must admit The Vegetarian went right over my head, but on reflection I would be open to re-reading it at some point.

The White Book is quite a departure from the aforementioned books. Focusing on the colour white, the colour appears in different objects and memories, set to the backdrop of W
...more
Rebecca
A series of short, poetic meditations on the color white. The narrator is haunted by the story of her mother’s first child, a daughter who came early and died within two hours because of their winter isolation. “I was told that she was a girl, with a face as white as a crescent-moon rice cake.” Ever since, she’s felt the weight of obligation, as if she has to live a doubly significant life to make up for her older sister’s being snatched away. Snow, ashes, pebbles, butterflies, the moon: the the ...more
Natalie (CuriousReader)
The White Book has often been described to me as ‘musings on the color white’, resembling Maggie Nelson’s “Bluets” in the way it bends and defines genres. Somewhere between essays, flash-fiction, and poetry in form; with contents of both personal and beautiful nature. The White Book opens with a list of white things, and goes on from there to become short passages on one white thing to another, expanding on what the color resembles and mirrors, as well as what it symbolizes and what meaning we g ...more
Sidharth Vardhan

"In the spring, when I decided to write about white things the first thing I did was to make a list.

Swaddling bands. Newborn gown. Salt. Snow. Ice. Moon. Rice. Waves. Yulan. White bird. “Laughing Whitely”. Blank paper. White dog. White hair. Shroud.

With each item I wrote down, a ripple of agitation ran through me. I felt that yes, I needed to write this book and that the process of writing it would be transformative, would itself transform, into something like white ointment applied to a swel
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Mookse and th...: 2018 MBI Shortlist: The White Book 18 56 Apr 29, 2018 12:33PM  
ManBookering: The White Book by Han Kang 21 82 Mar 25, 2018 08:10AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • One Hundred Shadows
  • No One Writes Back
  • Die, My Love
  • Voor het vergeten
  • Stranger, Baby
  • The World Goes On
  • Photo Shop Murder
  • Ten Thousand Lives
  • Più alto del mare
  • The Flowers of Hiroshima
  • Physical
  • Únava materiálu
  • The Story of Hong Gildong
  • Our Twisted Hero
  • The Old Garden
  • The Traitor's Niche
  • Of Dogs and Walls
  • El comensal
See similar books…
2,024 followers
소설가 한강

Han Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung-won. She was born in Kwangju and at the age of 10, moved to Suyuri (which she speaks of affectionately in her work "Greek Lessons") in Seoul.

She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. She began her writing career when one of her poems was featured in the winter issue of the quarterly Literature and Society. She made her official liter
...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Standing at this border where land and water meet, watching the seemingly endless recurrence of the waves (though this eternity is in fact illusion: the earth will one day vanish, everything will one day vanish), the fact that our lives are no more than brief instants is felt with unequivocal clarity.” 10 likes
“Sand
And she frequently forgot,
That her body (all our bodies) is a house of sand.
That it had shattered and is shattering still.
Slipping stubbornly through fingers.”
7 likes
More quotes…