Thursday, February 3, 2022

Convalescence, Human acts, The vegetarian - Han Kang

I’m writing from the depth of the contemporary Asian literature tunnel that I’ve entered a while ago and which I want to keep exploring a little longer. This section of the cave opens up on the work of Han Kang, a very skilled South Korean female writer.
Despite the title, “The Vegetarian” is not a book about animal rights, ethical food choices or the impacts on the environment of pig and chicken farms. This is a story about eating disorders, mental illness, violence, sexual perversions and the psychiatric consequences of child abuse.
“Convalescence” and “The fruit of my woman” are two short stories. Once again the protagonists are women whose bodies change as a consequence of inner conflicts, incompatibility with the outer world and critical personality traits. Self annihilation seems to be the only antidote to the poisons of ordinary life activity.
“Human acts” is tragic, I mean Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides kind of tragic. The real Ancient Greek version of tragic. I knew that South Korea, before becoming an advanced, wealthy, industrialized and free country, had been oppressed by a harsh dictatorship. But I didn’t know the details. This book is about those details. Many of them. Extremely tragic and realistic. And very beautiful.
Excellent read, if you're not in a sad mood.

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