My Rating: 3/5
Winner of 2016’s Man Booker International Prize, Han Kang’s subtle written book, The Vegetarian is a surprise package. It’s a long form of a novella and divided into three parts, first published in 2007. However, the concept of this novel originated in 1997 when Kang wrote a short story titled, ‘The Fruit of My Woman’. Set in modern-day Seoul, it tells the story of Yeong-hye, a home-maker, whose decision to stop eating meat after having a nightmare.
This leads to consequences for her and people in her family as the try to force her to eat meat. Relationships starts falling apart around her and everyone comes to a conclusion of her reaching the peaks of insanity.
The story is explicitly told to us in three parts Yeong-hye’s husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister. This accumulates to generate a surreal sensation, a sense of feeling you might have felt in some of Haruki Murakami’s novels. However, like the other surreal narratives, the content or the timeline in this book is flat and doesn’t overlap. The events described in this book starts taking place when Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian.
The book starts at a very fast pace but soon becomes distracting as it demands an attention of the reader. In the end, it becomes full of details that are important understand the cause of Yeong-hye’s maybe mania. From a reader’s point of view, this might sound exciting but in practice (when comes to reading), this type of pace affects the reading flow.
If you are looking for some experimental reading, especially from narrative’s point of view, this book may turn out to be an excellent choice. I have to agree, this book is one of its kind.