The Vegetarian

Paperback, 192 pages

English language

Published Sept. 10, 2017 by imusti, Granta Books.

ISBN:
978-1-84627-603-3
Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

View on Inventaire

4 stars (40 reviews)

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 …

4 editions

reviewed The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Culturally translatable ascetism

5 stars

This was a difficult book to finish. I wanted to finish it, for about a week, but the last 50 or so pages are emotionally harrowing. Hard work.

Stylistically beautiful. Terse and without any extraneous detail, it reads a bit like a ascetic philosophical exploration of decisions in society.

A lot of other reviews (and the blurb above) focus on the book's setting in Korea -- traditionally meat-heavy diet, traditionally rigid patriachal family structure etc. I didn't find this -- apart from the names of people (which are few) and the descriptions of food, there is very little to locate this book in space or time beyond being somewhat modern.

Review of 'The Vegetarian' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

3,5/5

Probablemente The Vegetarian ha sido una de las novelas más raras que he leído en toda mi vida, pero me ha gustado y a la vez me ha aterrorizado muchísimo (sobre todo al pensar que cosas que pasan en la novela y que me han parecido horribles las tenemos muy asumidas en nuestra sociedad).

Me han gustado sobre todo la primera y la segunda parte (esta un poco menos) y de la tercera aún no tengo una opinión clara porque no he entendido el final, la verdad. Menudo libro...

Review of 'The Vegetarian' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

This was a difficult read, but I don't for a moment regret having read it.

There is so much going on in this book, so much that is unsaid, so much that is left for the reader to decide. It is a book about men and women—men using women to further their own goals. It is a book about families breaking apart and coming together. It is a book about human connection and the lack thereof.

It is a book about mental health, about a descent into madness. There is a dreamlike quality to it, but the language is precise and objective (often reminding me of Hilary Mantel or Angel Carter). As one of the characters seems to lose her grip on reality, readers find themselves more and more grounded in reality. Strangely, this is unsettling rather than reassuring.

The Vegetarian is beautiful and sad, exquisite and gut-wrenching, terrifying and …

Review of 'The Vegetarian' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I've seen this book on our hold shelf for weeks and was always struck by the cover. But oddly enough, I never actually picked up the book to read its summary. I was flying blind with this one once it arrived on the hold shelf for me and had absolutely no idea what I was in for with Han King's The Vegetarian.

In part one, we meet Yeong-hye through the narration of her husband, Mr. Cheong, as he observes his wife become increasingly unwell as a result of her gruesome, gory nightmares. One morning, before sunrise, he finds her in the kitchen throwing away all of the meat in their house: eel, beef for shabu shabu, pork belly, and oysters all because she "had a dream." We watch Yeong-hye begin to unravel without the support of her husband, sister, or parents, who see her rapid switch to vegetarianism as …

Review of 'The Vegetarian' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I appreciate what she was trying to do; showing how strongly and violently some people react to someone being different than what they themselves are used to. However, I did not care about any of the characters and what happened to them, which made reading this books quite a chore.

Review of 'The Vegetarian' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The Vegetarian is a disturbing and extraordinary novel, about the transformation of a seemingly “unremarkable in every way” woman to a sensual, provocative, ethereal being who has rejected completely the outside world. It is Han Kang’s – a South Korean writer – first novel, wonderfully translated by Deborah Smith, in English (Portobello, 2015).

Haunted by grotesque and aggressive recurring dreams, Yeong-hye decides one morning to become a vegetarian. Her vegetarianism is a shocking act of mutiny in a society that vegetarianism is unusual and societal norms and traditions are strictly obeyed. It provokes an aggressive, violent reaction by her family. The consequences are dire, the main characters are forced to re-examine their own lives and their values, and when finally, the fragile façade disintegrates, the breakdown of the family is inevitable and definitive.

The visions have a very profound effect to Yeong-hye, gradually, she is being transformed to a primitive, …

avatar for Monirah

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Vincent

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Elspeth

rated it

3 stars
avatar for MayaAngel82

rated it

5 stars
avatar for kataract

rated it

5 stars
avatar for vilhelmr

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Stratski

rated it

3 stars
avatar for mario

rated it

5 stars
avatar for satyajit

rated it

3 stars
avatar for mellifera

rated it

4 stars
avatar for mchlgbbns

rated it

5 stars
avatar for court_ellis89

rated it

4 stars
avatar for rmcminds

rated it

2 stars
avatar for WorzelFG

rated it

4 stars
avatar for netherworld-td

rated it

5 stars
avatar for jsq

rated it

5 stars
avatar for pivic

rated it

4 stars
avatar for shawn

rated it

3 stars
avatar for AllisonWyss

rated it

5 stars
avatar for stochita

rated it

5 stars
avatar for bookit

rated it

2 stars