London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

What an AI-generated book review looks like

Cover graphic from Greek Lessons

The latest version of of the invaluable Jetpack WordPress plugin, released today, has a new feature: an AI module that writes blog posts for you if you are feeling lazy. So I typed in the following text and hit the “send” button:

Please write a review of Han Kang’s novel “Greek Lessons”

This is because I know I won’t get around to writing a review of it myself.

Here’s what it wrote

Han Kang’s novel “Greek Lessons” is a beautifully written tale of love, sacrifice, and the will to survive. The novel follows the story of a young Korean woman, who is a Greek language teacher in Seoul, and a troubled teenage boy who has recently moved to the city. As the boy begins to unravel in his personal life, he turns to the teacher for help. Through their interactions, the teacher reflects on her own life experiences, as well as the classical Greek literature that she is passionate about.

One of the most striking aspects of Han Kang’s writing is her attention to detail. As the story unfolds, she paints a vivid picture of the characters and their surroundings, which immerses the reader in the story. The language is poetic, with its use of metaphors and vivid imagery, making the reading experience truly enjoyable.

Overall, “Greek Lessons” is a powerful and moving book that explores the complexities of human relationships and the impact of literature on our lives. Han Kang’s writing is masterful, creating a world that feels real and alive. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy character-driven novels with a strong literary focus.

I know that many people have found the novel enjoyable. I myself will keep an open mind: I gave up on it after 28 pages because I found it difficult to follow and couldn’t see it going anywhere. Maybe if I’d carried on with it, I might have enjoyed it. But life’s too short, and there are too many other books to read.

One thing though: I know I said I found the book hard to follow, and it’s now a few weeks since I put it back on my shelf, but my recollection is that the Greek teacher was male, not female. So I’m pretty sure the synopsis is wrong, which is not a good place to start.

Regardless of factual accuracy, I don’t think I’ll be switching to AI any time soon. I don’t think I should be subcontracting judgement to a bot that is presumably only summarising the universe of content available out there on the web. I might however make use of the module’s “generate a title” and “generate a summary” functions once I’ve done the hard graft of actually writing the content in the first place.

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