Han Kang, winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian, is known for her ability to lay bare the lives of complicated women. Her latest novel, Greek Lessons, first released in 2011 and newly translated into English by Deborah Smith and Emily Yae Won, focuses on a South Korean mother who loses the ability to speak after her own mother dies and she loses custody of her son. To explore the possibilities of language beyond her native Korean, and in the hopes of recovering her voice, the unnamed woman takes a course in ancient Greek where she meets a professor who suffers from a degenerative eye disease that will eventually cause him to go blind. The two bond over their respective disabilities; not through words, but instead through sly glances and inadvertent touch. In absorbing prose, Kang allows these two lonely people to communicate their deepest fears and regrets in an attempt to find a way forward. Greek Lessons is a profoundly sad yet hopeful look at the connection that comes with shared language—even when it is not spoken. —Shannon Carlin
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