The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] 'Path of Humanity' is like final grains of harvest of life

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Jan. 27, 2024 - 16:01

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"Path of Humanity" by Han Seung-won (Munhakdongne Publishing)

"Path of Humanity"

By Han Seung-won

Munhakdongne Publishing

Since 1997, Han Seung-won, writer and poet, has been living in his hometown of Jangheung in South Jeolla Province.

A winner of numerous literary awards, Han writes daily in his studio.

He is best known for the novel "Aje Aje Bara Aje" (1985), which was adapted into a film titled "Come Come Come Upward" featuring the late Kang Soo-youn and Yu In-chon, the current culture minister.

At the age of 85, the veteran author makes a return with "Path of Humanity," a novel he describes as his own "ultimate path." He poetically likens it to the harvesting of the last grains of life, encapsulating his profound philosophy on life and literature.

Although categorized as a "novel," the work defies simple classification, seamlessly blending different genres such as poetry, essay and fables into rich storytelling. Within the story, the author, also serving as the narrator, encounters his alter egos, allowing him to revisit both his youth and older self.

The book transcends the boundaries between the author's autobiographical experiences and fantasy. For example, in a fable-like segment, the narrator engages in conversation with a seagull and makes realistic commentaries on politics and society.

Having debuted in 1966, Han looks forward to his 60th anniversary as a writer next year.

Notably, his daughter, Han Kang, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Korean to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for her novel "The Vegetarian" in 2016.