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The Vegetarian (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


"It all started with the nightmare. In the midst of Kim Yeong-hye and her husband’s mediocre, middle-class marriage, the dream about blood and meat and carnage. To make the dream stop, Yeong-hye stops eating meat. Then all food. Eventually, she becomes more plant-like than animal to those around her. This book is about transformation: birthmarks bloom into flowers, trees alight with flames, arms stretch out into roots, a bird speaks with a mother’s voice, a piece of art transcends the piece itself to shatter several lives. Yeong-hye’s violent dreams are a product of a lifetime of internalized aggressions, microaggressions, and passive erasure. This book is about the violence that women hold onto inside themselves and the only way to let it go is to let go of the entire world. A reader might balk at Yeong-hye’s lack of voice throughout the story, considering that she is the subject. But for anyone who has watched someone make the decision to destroy themselves, we know that at a certain point, satisfying answers are never forthcoming. Recommended pairing with Young-ha Kim’s I Have The Right to Destroy Myself."

— Jan

Description


Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - Publisher's Weekly - Buzzfeed - Entertainment Weekly - Time - Wall Street Journal - Bustle - Elle - The Economist - Slate - The Huffington Post - The St. Louis Dispatch - Electric Literature

A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul

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 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, and 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.

Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman's struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.

About the Author


Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as novelist in 1994. A participant of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Literary Prize. She currently works as a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. www.writerhankang.com


Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780553448184
ISBN-10: 0553448188
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016
Pages: 192
Language: English