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The Vegetarian by Han Kang
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The Vegetarian (original 2007; edition 2016)

by Han Kang (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,5602087,015 (3.59)1 / 264
Member:reynag
Title:The Vegetarian
Authors:Han Kang (Author)
Info:Hogarth (2016), Edition: Reprint, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (2007)

Recently added byzleonarczyk, private library, effietheant, Katie_Roscher, rich255, Hypops, reynag, cavernism
  1. 31
    Human Acts: A Novel by Kang Han (whitsunweddings)
    whitsunweddings: It's briefly mentioned in The Vegetarian that the Artist is a 5.18 survivor. For those unfamiliar, Han Kang's book on the Gwangju Massacre gives context for the trauma that he - and Korea as a whole - went through.
  2. 00
    Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Both books involve a mysterious woman and the perceptions, projections and assumptions about her by others.
  3. 01
    Hikikomori and the Rental Sister: A Novel by Jeff Backhaus (KatyBee)
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English (203)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Piratical (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
Weird. Not bad, just...weird. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
4.5 stars.
This review can also be found on my blog.
cw: rape; self-harm; disordered eating

Why, is it such a bad thing to die?

I’m not sure I can give this a proper review, as I had a very… complicated relationship with the text. A lot of things struck me very hard (this was definitely an instance of finding a book “at the right time” for me), but a lot of these things ended up connecting strongly to very personal aspects of my life. Aspects that I don’t currently feel comfortable sharing in a book review. I’ll simply say that this was a beautiful, haunting read and one that I know will stick with me for a long time. I’d been meaning to pick up some of Han Kang’s work for a while now and this was honestly the perfect introduction for me. I highly recommend this book, even though it may be a difficult read for some. ( )
  samesfoley | Dec 26, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was fairly quick read. Was well written and kept me turning pages. I enjoyed it but it was kinda weird. Bizarre and a little ewwwwh but i think that is what made it good.

FTC Advisory: I recieved this copy of "The Vegetarian " from " LibraryThing" thru "Early Review Program". No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
  justablondemoment | Nov 7, 2018 |
I have been reading a few novels translated into English lately and I have not been disappointed. I discovered The Vegetarian on the podcast The Joy of Serious Literature last year and finally purchased a copy. According to two of my Korean friends, Han Kang's work is quite popular. This book won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize which is awarded to the best novel translated into English. Although not a perfect measure, I am yet to be disappointed by a book that has received a national or international award. Kang's prose is brilliant, and her dialogue (a difficult skill to master) is even better. What I have noticed from a few international authors is the interesting use of different voices, for example, switching from first to third-person narration in different parts of the book, and also, in this book, bringing three distinct parts into one compelling story. What I enjoyed most about The Vegetarian was the complete absence of a happy ending. It begs the question, who was your favourite character? Much like the podcast's host's Korean friend, I found the artist to be my favourite. Not because of what he does, which is a bit out there, but because he is "the only character who gets what he wants". I doubt stories like this would work for an Anglo author - I think the tone would make it all a bit "dirty". Without giving too much away, if you are looking for inspiration, this isn't the book for you. But if you enjoy the lasting residue of stories well told, this one will stay with you for some time. ( )
  madepercy | Oct 10, 2018 |
The Vegetarian is such a strange but intriguing book. Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetation after having strange dreams of blood and meat. Her choice offends her family and causes her to ignore other social norms leading her to spiral out of control. The story is told from Yeong-hye husband, who becomes fed up with her, her brother-in-law, who becomes obsessed with her, and her sister whose life is changed and challenged because of Yeong-hye. Very well written, some scenes are disturbing and uncomfortable to read, but that is because the author is a great writer. Short book, highly recommend. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
The strength of Kang's voice is in her refusal to smoothen the rough edges of her characters - they bare their scars and innermost vulnerabilities and yet don't appear drawing sympathy.
 
What flows through "The Vegetarian" is an urgent need to detach oneself from the constraints of the human body, to transform and possibly transcend its limits completely.
 
“The Vegetarian” is an existential nightmare, as evocative a portrayal of the irrational as I’ve come across in some time.
 
But The Vegetarian isn’t an anti-meat manifesto or an uplifting story of emancipation. Instead, in dreamlike passages punctuated by bursts of startling physical and sexual violence, Kang viscerally explores the limits of what a human brain and body can endure, and the strange beauty that can be found in even the most extreme forms of renunciation.
 
At first, you might eye the title and scan the first innocuous sentence — “Before my wife turned vegetarian, I thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way” — and think that the biggest risk here might be converting to vegetarianism. (I myself converted, again; we’ll see if it lasts.) But there is no end to the horrors that rattle in and out of this ferocious, magnificently death-affirming novel.
 

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Han Kangprimary authorall editionscalculated
Smith, DeborahTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Before my wife turned vegetarian, I'd always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Yeong-Bye 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-Bye, seeking a more 'plant-like' existence, commits a shocking act of subversion. As her rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, Yeong-Bye spirals further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming - impossibly, ecstatically - a tree.
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"Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams--invasive images of blood and brutality--torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It's a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that's become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her but also from herself." -- jacket.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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