by Han Kang
“A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.”
I went into The Vegetarian with high expectations. On the cover there is a quote: “This book is both terrifying and terrific.” I read that and knew it was going to be great but unfortunately it faltered for me.
Part one puts off an ominous vibe. The story is interesting and sucks you right in. It was just so weird and intriguing. Told from Yeong-hye’s husband’s point of view, I felt sorry for him AND his wife. No one was really happy. They were all just existing. The dreams his wife were having were so weird and unnerving. That feeling had me turning pages and excited about what was to come. Then there’s part two……….
Part two is about our Yeong-hye’s sister’s husband. Her brother-in-law. Things get quite intimate, in a weird disturbing kind of way. I didn’t particularly like him especially after the awful things he did. You get to relive a few parts from part one in his point of view. Then again in part three in the sister’s point of view. After part one, is when things started doing a 180. Retelling things that happened in part one and two yet again, in part three.
If you notice I keep using the word weird, because I’m not sure there’s another word to describe what I felt after reading. There’s a big black hole, a disconnect I’m feeling. I think if there would have been a part from Yeong-hye herself (besides the snippets of her dreams) to understand her better it would have much more sense. The metaphors in this book also are very heavy. They can be interpreted in may ways, I think, depending on the reader. I can see how this wold be a good book club read, a good discussion.
I felt like I could ponder on this book for days and still not have a great description for it. It’s a bit different from anything I have read before. An interesting read that makes you go hmmmmmmmm.
My rating: 2/5 stars
Buy link: AMAZON
*I received a copy of this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.