Human Acts

Human Acts - Han Kang

I don’t know what possessed me to read this novel. Inside was death, and I am not talking people dying, I am talking about individuals being shot at and bodies being brought in by the truckloads, being dumped off waiting for someone to claim them. These bodies, laying in rows, candles being placed in bottles beside the bodies hoping to mask the stench of their decaying flesh. Individuals having to write down on ledgers the clothing of these individuals for the faces were sometimes so broken, that they were hard to identify. Was it worth it? I had hoped so. I read, sometimes confused at what I was reading, the stories mingled together but the hope, the anticipation and the story was all the same. They were soldiers, the civilian militia, located in South Korea, the year was 1980. University students were fighting against the government and as I read, I shook my head in disgust. They were students, fighting for their rights, they were fighting against a trained army, did they think they could win? They waited, they hoped, they knew they were outnumbered but yet they fought and the outcome was not good. The ones that lived, the soldiers wrote on their backs with permanent markers their crimes and threw them in cells. The ones that died, they took rides in trucks, their bodies piled up until someone claimed them or their body claimed themselves. The prisoners in the cells, they were tortured for their lives were not over, it is never completely over.