The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang

The Vegetarian: A Novel

byHan KangTranslated byDeborah Smith

Kobo ebook | January 1, 2015

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Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more 'plant-like' existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation. She unknowingly captivates her sister's husband, a video artist. She becomes the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiralling further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming - impossibly, ecstatically - a tree.

Fraught, disturbing and beautiful, The Vegetarian is a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

Title:The Vegetarian: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 1, 2015Publisher:Granta PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1846275636

ISBN - 13:9781846275630

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An incredible book! A thought-provoking book, strong writing and different from anything else I've ever read. This would make a really interesting book club read - lots to discuss!
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Very Thought Provoking Read! I read this book and it is like no other that I have read before (I have read many). This book starts out very calm with the main character announcing to her family that she no longer wants to eat meat. The plot takes an unexpected turn from that point on in some very shocking ways. I don't want to give too much away but it was disturbing at times but it also exposed the ugly side of what happens in famillies when one makes decisions that raise alot of opposition. There is also betrayal in the some of the worse ways possible but this book brings real life to the pages of a novel in a way that is hard to describe. Besides that give it a chance right through to the end.
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping, disturbing, incredible I can't stop recommending this book. I found the first narrator to be incredibly off-putting, but he drew me in. The imagery in this book is dark and at times disturbing, but it's also beautiful and I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderfully odd Compelling and strange! It reminded me of the movie Black Swan. If you like the movie, you'll like this!
Date published: 2017-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Strange, lovely and a little disturbing I was expecting this to be more like a thriller, but it really isn't. There's a lot of beautiful imagery as well as some disturbing cruelty. I liked it, but I don't know what to make of it.
Date published: 2017-12-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Strange, jarring, intriguing A book where motives are ambiguous and events are disturbing -- but something that will, nevertheless, stay with you a long time after turning the final page.
Date published: 2017-09-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Haunting This is a book that will leave me thinking for a long time. It was not quite what I expected and I wouldn't easily recommend it to another person without knowing their tastes very well. I really liked the first section and the last section. The middle section had very powerful and vivid images.
Date published: 2017-08-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Unusual Yet Interesting Read This books look at a Korean woman who decides to be become a vegetarian after having strange, re-occurring dreams. The story is told from her husband, brother in law and sister who are fascinated, abhorred, and worried about the physical and mental changes she goes through as she omits meat from her diet.
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Interesting book about attitudes towards vegetarianism, done from a very creative perspective. That said, I felt like the first two sections of the book were superbly strong and strange, whereas the third was just a letdown.
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poetic Han Kang's writing style is truly poetic. I really enjoyed this novel - mostly because the writing is so beautiful.
Date published: 2017-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Vivid, violent, & captivating It's incredible that a book so small can contain a story as deeply unsettling as this. Although the narrative literally takes root within Korean culture, the critiques painted in vivid colour across the pages are universal. Powerful, memorable story-telling.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Difficult at times to read Good read but very unsettling.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked it Good book. Explores many cultural and psychological issues.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark and Disturbing The Vegetarian tells a deeply disturbing story and explores many troubling topics though three succinct parts. I laughed out loud during moments in part one as they reflected many of my own personal experiences with becoming vegetarian in the 90’s. Similar sentiments were often sent my way – it was bizarre to stop eating meat at that time. Thankfully my family was supportive, but that is not the case for Yeong-hye and we soon get a glimpse into the abuse she has suffered, and how this impacts her emotional well-being. Yeong-hye’s inward spiral progresses as parts two and three shift in narrative, continuing the story from the perspectives of her brother-in-law and sister. I want to keep this spoiler free, so I won’t say much more. This book tackles topics such as physical abuse, animal abuse, rape, mental illness, and eating disorders. I’m amazed by the story Han Kang has crafted in under 200 pages.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Complicated Read A very unsettling read which ends with you splitting your own hairs. No real insight into the main characters destruction is offered, and unless you're the type to finish a novel and enjoy being left with a million and one more frustrating questions, I'd recommend skipping this one.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unsettling This book is very quiet yet violent.
Date published: 2016-11-11