Part parable, part thriller, part cautionary tale, “The Vegetarian” is the crushing story of a family who seem both unwilling and unable to address the worsening mental illness of one of their own: a young woman name Yeong-hye, whose dream one night not only turns her against eating meat, it kick starts an extremely violent battle against everyone she knows for her mind, her body and her soul.
Told in three acts, from three very different perspectives: Yeong-hye’s awful husband, her pervy artist brother-in-law, and her miserable put-upon sister, the author explores the explosive relationship between inner-world passions and outer-world limitations — that strike-slip fault where the submission, subversion and expression of personal choices must meet and account for personal responsibility and familial and societal obligation.
Dark, disturbing, provocative, bloody, violent, intense, and sometimes even beautiful, “The Vegetarian” was a fast and excellent read — surprisingly meaty for its 192 pages. Hard to put down, especially in the first section. Four stars and a bit more.
I read it on my iPhone with the Kindle App, and there weren’t any formatting, typos or other issues. Definitely worth the money.
Get The Vegetarian by Han Kang at Amazon.