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- Humans will not hesitate to lay down their own lives to rescue a child who had fallen onto the train tracks, yet are also perpetrators of appalling violence, like in Auschwitz. The broad spectrum of humanity, which runs from the sublime to the brutal, has for me been like a difficult homework problem ever since I was a child. You could say that my books are variations on this theme of human violence.
- I believe that trauma is something to be embraced rather than healed or recovered from. I believe that grief is something which situates the place/space of the dead within the living; and that, through repeatedly revisiting that place, through our pained and silent embrace of it over the course of a whole life, life is, perhaps paradoxically, made possible.
- I don’t see a single concept of ‘national’ or ‘literature’. Rather, I’ve always been fascinated by language. I enjoy contemplating the great depth, complexity and delicacy of the layers of a culture in which a single language is in-built. I owe a great debt to poetry and fiction written in Korean, as I spent my adolescence immersed within these.
- Writing is a way of questioning for me. I don’t try to find an answer, but to complete the question, or to stay within the question as long as I can. In a sense, writing fiction can be compared with pacing back and forth. You go forward and then come back again, pondering questions that both sears and chills you internally.
- As quoted in "Han Kang Interview" in Banana Writers
- For me, to write is to endlessly question what is life, what is death, what am I. When I write, especially when I’m writing novels, I’m exchanging one, two, three, sometimes four years for that book. So when I feel that I’m going forward as a writer, when I see that I explored what it means to be human in a certain way in this book and I went another way in another book, that’s when I’m glad that I became a writer.
- No. I have run away from a lot of publicity. I have tried my best to come back to my desk again. I needed a peaceful corner of my own for my next work. But it took time. Now I am adjusting myself to these new circumstances. I will try to write my next book as soon as possible.
- On the issue of her publicity in "Korea's Kafka? Man Booker winner Han Kang on why she turns a woman into a plant" in Deutsche Welle (September 12, 2016)
- I spent the autumn and winter of 2014 in Warsaw. Every day walking the unfamiliar streets of that city, tenaciously reconstructed after 95 percent had been destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, the thought came to me to write about a person who resembled the city. And one day I realised that this person had to be my older sister – a baby who left the world within two hours of being born into it. I wanted to make her live again through lending her my senses, my life. Writing this book was a form of prayer intending to make the things I saw, heard, touched, smelled, and tasted, all with the warmth of my living flesh, into 'her / your' things. And, as is always the case with our prayers, at a certain point it occurred to me that I was not writing for 'her' alone.