Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The White Book
Cover of The White Book
The White Book
by Han Kang
Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white


While on a writer's residency, a nameless narrator wanders the twin white worlds of the blank page and snowy Warsaw. THE WHITE BOOK becomes a meditation on the color white, as well as a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died in her mother's arms, a few hours old. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family, an event she colors in stark white—breast milk, swaddling bands, the baby's rice cake-colored skin—and, from here, visits all that glows in her memory: from a white dog to sugar cubes.

As the writer reckons with the enormity of her sister's death, Han Kang's trademark frank and chilling prose is softened by retrospection, introspection, and a deep sense of resilience and love. THE WHITE BOOK—ultimately a letter from Kang to her sister—offers powerful philosophy and personal psychology on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white


While on a writer's residency, a nameless narrator wanders the twin white worlds of the blank page and snowy Warsaw. THE WHITE BOOK becomes a meditation on the color white, as well as a fictional journey inspired by an older sister who died in her mother's arms, a few hours old. The narrator grapples with the tragedy that has haunted her family, an event she colors in stark white—breast milk, swaddling bands, the baby's rice cake-colored skin—and, from here, visits all that glows in her memory: from a white dog to sugar cubes.

As the writer reckons with the enormity of her sister's death, Han Kang's trademark frank and chilling prose is softened by retrospection, introspection, and a deep sense of resilience and love. THE WHITE BOOK—ultimately a letter from Kang to her sister—offers powerful philosophy and personal psychology on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    1

    I

    In the spring, when I decided to write about white things, the first thing I did was 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 swelling, like gauze laid over a wound. Something I needed.

    But then, a few days later, running my eyes over that list again, I wondered what meaning might lie in this task, in peering into the heart of these words.

    If I sift those words through myself, sentences will shiver out, like the strange, sad shriek the bow draws from a metal string. Could I let myself hide between these sentences, veiled with white gauze?

    This was difficult to answer, so I left the list as it was and put off anything more. I came abroad in August, to this country I'd never visited before, got a short-term lease on an apartment in its capital, and learned to draw out my days in these strange environs. One night almost two months later, when the season's chill was just beginning to bite, a migraine set in, viciously familiar. I washed down some pills with warm water and realized (quite calmly) that hiding would be impossible.

    Now and then, the passage of time seems acutely apparent. Physical pain always sharpens the awareness. The migraines that began when I was twelve or thirteen swoop down without warning, bringing with them agonizing stomach cramps that stop daily life in its tracks. Even the smallest task is left suspended as I concentrate on simply enduring the pain, sensing time's discrete drops as razor-sharp gemstones, grazing my fingertips. One deep breath drawn in and this new moment of life takes shape as distinctly as a bead of blood. Even once I have stepped back into the flow, one day melding seamlessly into another, that sensation remains ever there in that spot, waiting, breath held.

    Each moment is a leap forward from the brink of an invisible cliff, where time's keen edges are constantly renewed. We lift our foot from the solid ground of all our life lived thus far and take that perilous step out into the empty air. Not because we can claim any particular courage, but because there is no other way. Now, in this moment, I feel that vertiginous thrill course through me. As I step recklessly into time I have not yet lived, into this book I have not yet written.


    Door

    This was something that happened a long time ago.

    Before signing the contract for the lease, I went to look at the apartment again.

    Its metal door had once been white, but that brightness had faded over time. It was a mess when I saw it, paint flaking off in patches to reveal the rust beneath. And if that had been all, I would have remembered it as nothing more than a scruffy old door. But there was also the way its number, 301, had been inscribed.

    Someone—perhaps another in a long line of temporary occupants—had used some sharp implement, maybe a drill bit, to scratch the number into the door's surface. I could make out each individual stroke: 3, itself three hand spans high; 0, smaller, yet gone over several times, a fierce scrawl that attracted attention. Finally, 1, a long, deep-gouged line, taut with the effort of its making. Along this collection of straight and curved wounds rust had spread, a vestige of violence, like long-dried bloodstains, hardened,...

About the Author-
  • HAN KANG was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as a novelist in 1994. A participant in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Prize for Literature. She currently works as a professor in the department of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 18, 2019
    Far from a traditional novel in its presentation, the engrossing latest from Man Booker International winner Han (The Vegetarian) fills spare pages with sometimes poetic meditations on the possibilities of a life unlived. After traveling to Warsaw from South Korea and renting an apartment, Han’s unnamed narrator remembers the story of her parents’ first child, a girl who died shortly after birth. The narrator investigates her own grief regarding this child to conjure a possible alternate timeline wherein the baby lived. The narrator looks through the eyes of this new person, wandering the foreign city, observing the snowy season developing around her, and using objects like “Sleet,” “Salt,” and “Sugar cubes” as titles to anchor each section. The narrator crafts an entire life for this lost sister before turning her considerations inward, asking if she would have been conceived if the child had survived. Han breaks her narrative into three parts, “I,” “She,” and “All Whiteness,” and throughout writes with attention to the whiteness of the page. The second section, in particular, is wintery in presentation, with small blocks of black text floating atop swaths of blankness. Though thin on conventional narrative, the novel resonates as a prayer for the departed, and only gains power upon rereading.

  • AudioFile Magazine This brief novel--shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize--is a haunting meditation on loss and memory, movingly narrated by Jennifer Kim. Even though the unnamed narrator of the story is a successful author, she reflects on her life and how aimless she has become. In many passages she ponders the color white--snow, an empty sheet of white paper, an infant's swaddling clothes. She believes this rootlessness began before her own birth, when an older sister died soon after being born, forcing the narrator to recognize that, if things had been different, she herself might never have existed. Kim's voice gives the story the immediacy of a recent loss but also the joy of finding a relationship, no matter how ephemeral, with the sister she never met. A rare treat for listeners. D.G.P. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • OverDrive Listen
    Release date:
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Burn to CD: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to device: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to Apple® device: 
    Permitted
    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The White Book
The White Book
Han Kang
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel