reading · reviews

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.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
reading · reviews

Review: The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh dear. I was going to give it the benefit of the doubt and go with three stars, because I did like the story overall and felt the writing was evocative of a place. About three quarters of the way through the book, though, the author begins to relentlessly hammer the reader with misery in a way that made me angry. Through my sobs, with two pages to go, there was a scene where two characters encountered each other that actually caused me to yell “COME ON!” through my tears.

One of the things that bugged me the most is that, after a certain point in the story, so many important things began to happen off the page. We don’t see the first solo Nightingale journey; we don’t see characters fall in love, we’re just told that they did; we don’t see the deaths or survivals of some characters, we just find out later in exposition what happened to them.

Nothing in this book surprised me. I figured out much of the ending very early on, and I was disappointed that nothing that happened remotely deviated from what I had predicted.

View all my reviews