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Review: The Vegetarian

The VegetarianThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like weird books, but I’m not sure I really got this one. The Vegetarian is a story in three parts about a young Korean woman living in Seoul. Upon having a gruesome and disturbing dream, she decides to become a vegetarian. Things basically go downhill from there.

In the first part, we see things play out from her husband’s perspective; later, we get her brother-in-law’s POV, and finally her sister’s perspective in part three. I guess you could say this is a book that attempts to show the ripple effects that one mentally ill person can have on their loved ones, but I’m not sure it really did that. We never get Yeong-hye’s take on what’s going on, nor do we get any indication that she’s been suffering or struggling with mental illness up to this point in her life. She’s portrayed as being a completely normal person who has a horrific dream and then pretty rapidly loses touch with reality over a period of years, culminating in a very sad and muddled ending.

There are some excellent descriptions and scenes in this book, but overall I’m not sure it did what it intended, and I had a hard time connecting with anyone in the story because the POV made everyone seem very distant and cold.

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Vegetarian

      1. I know what you mean. At some point you start wondering if you missed something that everyone else saw in the book. It’s nice to find someone else who saw the book the same way I did. Perhaps I’m not crazy :P

        Liked by 1 person

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