Human Acts

Hardcover, 218 pages

English language

Published Jan. 17, 2017 by Hogarth Press.

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From the internationally bestselling author of “The Vegetarian,” a rare and astonishing (The Observer) portrait of political unrest and the universal struggle for justice.

In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho's best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

An award-winning, controversial bestseller, Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns …

2 editions


  • Fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • South Korea
  • Labor rights
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Gwangju Uprising