An astonishingly rendered work of fiction, as much a meditation as a narrative ... Precise, subversive, fierce and deceptively opaque ... There is a heaviness in these pages, teamed with wonder; a fragile coexistence from sentence to sentence ... is not without hope. In its own way the novel is a sublime expression of grief’s incongruous byways, its busy inactivity, its larger, more elaborate intrusions.
Although [Han Kang's] new novel, The White Book, occupies a somewhat quieter register [than her previous work], it too is formally daring, emotionally devastating and deeply political. Its relative smallness of scale — a scant 157 pages, cut to fit in the palm of the hand — is deceptive, itself the mark of a supremely confident writer ... What follows is a text shot through with 'vertiginous thrill' ... In this subtle and searching novel, Kang, through Smith, proposes a model of genuine empathy, one that insists on the power of shared experience but is not predicated on the erasure of difference.
... stunningly beautiful writing ... The White Book isn't likely to appeal to fans of the traditional novel, but will reward readers with a taste for more unconventional narratives ... Han's writing, and the translation by Deborah Smith, is so delicate and gorgeous, it seems a waste of time to try to pigeonhole it into any genre ... The White Book is a novel that's difficult to describe, but easy to love. It's a delicate book, hard to know, impossible to pin down, but it's filled with some of Han's best writing to date. And it's also one of the smartest reflections on what it means to remember those we've lost.