book review

Book Review – The Vegetarian – Han Kang

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Vegetarian is like no other book I’ve encountered so far in all my reading life. A story told in three parts maps the journey that Yeong-Hye goes through as she decides to quit eating meat and become a vegetarian. Why does she do this? She had a dream. Yes, a dream. Her decision unravels a slew of consequences that threaten the relationships within her family.

In a disturbing account of the repercussions of one woman’s choice to give up meat, Kang weaves a tale on the sexualisation of the female body and social isolation. She boldly touches on mental illness and cultural/societal norms. A short and fascinating story.

While Han Kang is Korean, the writing style and storytelling is very reminiscent of Japanese fiction I’ve read. I’m a fan of foreign translations, but not accustomed to reading any of this particular genre. Perhaps this story is going nowhere, but for the most part, it’s enthralling.


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