The relationship between the author and reader is a bit of that of a parent and a child, a teacher and student, a falconer and a falcon. Make it too easy, plain, pedantic — and the reader switches off. Make it too difficult or abstract, and the same happens. It’s on the middle ground that the connection is made between the author’s intentions and the reader’s understanding. The falcon flies and comes back.
And as much as I want to love this book (for I loved Han Kang’s The Vegetarian), The White Book just does not grab me. I feel so uncultivated — or whatever the opposite of ‘refined’ is — but the words fly past me, either too plain or too abstract. It’s too minimalistic. I don’t think it’s a poor book, but it is a poor book for me.