“It is a novel about Jeju April 3rd uprising, a passage from death to life, and deep love. But if I had to pick one, I would say it is a novel about deep love.”
Novelist Han Kang, 51, defined her new novel “I Do Not Bid Farewell” during an online press conference held via YouTube on Tuesday.
“Whether it is love or mourning, the title contains the determination to embrace the feeling and move forward. Writing in the pandemic, I was affected by the desire to be connected and reach out.”
Han Kang was able to write a novel about the Jeju April 3 Incident because she remembered a story about the massacre occurred during the April 3 Incident an old lady told her when she lived in Jeju for a few months in the late 1990s.
In her new book, novelist Kyung-ha travels down to Jeju at the request of her friend In-seon. After arriving at In-seon’s house, Kyung-ha gets to meet her friend’s mother, a victim of the April 3 Incident, in her fantasy. “I often choose the subject of my work but there are times when certain scenes come to mind and I want to find out about them,” Han Kang said. “I did not have plans to write about the massacre of civilians in Jeju but I decided to write about it in my new book.”
At the beginning of the novel, In-seon has her finger amputated in an accident and gets treatment. “When a finger is amputated, it is treated by continuously injuring the finger and allowing blood to flow in order to prevent the cut nerve from permanent damage. Otherwise the cut part will rot,” said Hang Kang. “It is painful but a needle is inserted into the affected area in order to keep the finger alive. It hurts when we embrace something hard to embrace but it is the way to life instead of death.”