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Human Acts
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Group Reads > 2/17 Women in translation Human Acts - no spoilers

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Amanda (tnbooklover) Welcome to our Feb read. Let us know if you are planning on joining in. Lets keep this thread spoiler free.

Amanda (tnbooklover) From the back cover "From the award-winning author of The Vegetarian comes a riveting and poetic examination of humanity at its most appalling, and its most hopeful."

I'm really excited to read this book. I found The Vegetarian to be deeply disturbing. The Observer says this is "A rare and astonishing book, sensitively translated by Deborah Smith, Human Acts enrages, impassions, and most importantly, gives voices back to those who were silenced" This seems like a really timely read as there are a lot of voices being silenced right now.

I'll be starting this in a few days. I hope you guys join me.


message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimstories) | 4 comments Oooh, that sounds interesting. I think I'll get it and start in a few days too.

Amanda (tnbooklover) Yay Kim!

message 5: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I'll be reading this one as soon as I finish The Night Circus, so probably early/mid month. The Vegetarian was definitely one of the most memorable and unsettling books I read last year.

Amanda (tnbooklover) I started this yesterday. Her writing is so powerful. It's hard to say you enjoy it because of the subject matter but I am in awe of her prose style.

message 7: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I started yesterday too! The writing (translating?) is amazing, I agree. So powerful.

Amanda (tnbooklover) Yes, the translating as well.

I had never heard of Gwangju or this uprising. Had you?

message 9: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments No, shamefully, I knew nothing about it either!

Amanda (tnbooklover) I wonder if the author is a vegetarian. As there is a character early on in this one that shows an aversion to eating meet. She almost seems to foreshadow the main character in The Vegetarian.

message 11: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay I just started this and am excited to discuss it with you, guys. As with her previous book, I am instantly hooked by her writing style.

message 12: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I've just finished reading Chapter 4 "The Prisoner. 1990". I think it was the most devastating yet, especially when we found out how (view spoiler)

This really had me thinking:

Is it true that human beings are fundamentally cruel? Is the experience of cruelty the only thing we share as a species? Is the dignity that we cling to nothing but self-delusion, masking from ourselves this single truth; that each one of us is capable of being reduced to an insect, a ravening beast, a lump of meat? To be degraded, damaged, slaughtered - is this the essential fate of humankind, one which history has confirmed as inevitable?

I don't know how you could survive something like this without feeling that way. And sometimes, just reading about atrocities like this, it is easy to convince ourselves of the inevitability and pervasiveness of human cruelty.

I am finding this such a challenging read, because of the strong emotional impact it is having. I feel I will definitely need to follow it up with something light and fluffy!

message 13: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay Viv, I completely agree - I thought the beginning was difficult and then the book just got more and more challenging. I have always thought that as a privileged person who has never experienced political violence, it is my duty as a human to read about other people's stories. This book offers just that - it makes me bear witness to horrific violence. It poses another question further on that I found very interesting as well - what is the obligation/responsibility of people who have suffered to tell their stories? I will pose this in the other thread so we can have a spoiler-full discussion.

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