A Passionate Struggle for Life: Leave Now, the Wind Is Blowing by Han Kang
- onOctober 20, 2014
- Vol.8 Summer 2010
- byChoi Jaebong
- Leave Now, the Wind is Blowing
Han Kang’s novel Leave Now, the Wind Is Blowing is a struggle for interpretation between two people surrounding the death of a woman. The aspiring artist Seo Inju dies under suspicious circumstances at the Misiryeong mountain pass at dawn. The art critic Kang Seogwon who was in love with her concludes that she committed suicide, and attempts to publish a book that mythologizes Inju’s life and art. However, Inju’s other friend Yi Jeonghui, who knew Inju’s passion for life, tries to find the truth behind Inju’s death. With Jeonghui as the narrator, the novel begins when Jeonghui and Seogwon meet for the first time and alternates between Jeonghui’s memories of Inju and some new stories about her that they learn from other people. In the process, they discover that Inju’s mother, an alcoholic who suffered from depression, also took her own life at the Misiryeong mountain pass 40 years before. Seogwon and Jeonghui’s struggle for interpretation becomes more and more intense until Seogwon breaks into Jeonghui’s house, attacks her, and sets the house on fire to destroy Inju’s remaining paintings and other possessions. The last scene, in which Jeonghui is crawling out of the house engulfed by fire as she moans, “I want to live, I want to live,” shows the author’s passionate struggle for life, which is also the main theme of the novel.
Han Kang has received the Man Booker International Prize 2016, the Yi Sang Literary Award, Today’s Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Literature Prize. English translations of her books include The Vegetarian (Portobello, 2015), Human Acts (Portobello, 2016), and The White Book (Portobello, 2018).