The Man Booker International Prize, 2016
A beautiful, unsettling novel in three acts 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, brother-in-law, and sister all 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.
©2016 Han Kang (P)2016 Random House Audio
"This book is both terrifying and terrific." (Lauren Groff, New York Times best-selling author of Fates and Furies)
"The Vegetarian is one of the best novels I've read in years. It's incredible, daring, and stunningly moving. I loved it." (Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me)
"A complex, terrifying look at how seemingly simple decisions can affect multiple lives.... In a world where women's bodies are constantly under scrutiny, the protagonist's desire to disappear inside of herself feels scarily familiar." (VanityFair.com)
A remarkable story. The protagonist, the Vegetarian, combines in her character contentment and strength of will belied by her physical condition.
It surprised me that the publishers did not listen carefully to the performance of the readers. The male reader needs to take care! In the most compelling moments his pronunciation of BUTTOCK would break the author's spell. Please dear publisher have a listen! Yours Sincerely, Jitu Pasricha
this was A very intriguing novel. i liked the vivid descriptions that led up to this individuals mental collapse. she was so entrapped in her delusions that others around her began to question their own realities. Very well done
I LOVED this book but I gave it a low overall score because it infuriates me when a work of art with a beautiful performance and a STUNNING ending is ruined due to the audible voice coming on only seconds after the reader/author's last words. The business announcement of who wrote the book and that it was an Audible recording was almost indistinguishable from the last PROFOUND words of the book. In protest I returned this book to Audible. I told them, Don't screw up books!!! Let them end with the last words of the book NOT facts and NOT "we hoped you e enjoyed Audible". Does the company think we're so stupid that we don't know what we've been listening to for ten or so hours?! Crazy....
I had to read this book for a class so I have to say the content really isn't my style to begin with. But on top of that, the narration was really painful for me. The main male narrator sounded almost apathetic during parts where he was narrating sentences that would be full of strong emotion in real life. The female narrator has an accent which is fine but I don't see how it adds to the story at all. She reads paiiiiiinfully slowly which gives the main girl's impending insanity I can sort of understand but it's so hard to listen to. The male narrator read too slowly as well and I only found the book tolerable after speeding it up significantly
I was really captivated by this story. I am not sure what the author was trying to express, but I interpreted this story to be about how "mental illness" is determined by an individual's context and that symptoms express a person's past and current relationships, and do not solely originate from within the individual. Yeong-hye grew up in a family/ culture, and then a marriage, where her feelings and needs are unimportant (at best). I see her dreams and ways of expressing herself as an attempt to expunge trauma, pain and guilt, as well as a way to declare her separateness and autonomy from those around her.
This story was heart-breaking and beautiful.
Both narrators' performances were excellent.
I'm not sure what I was expecting but found this very dark and depressing. I'm not altogether sure I understand the point the author was trying to make
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"She had never lived. Even as a child, as far back as she could remember, she had done nothing but endure."
-- Han Kang, The Vegetarian
A short novel made up of three inter-related stories of three related family members (a sister/vegetarian, her sister/responsible one, her sister's husband/artist). The stories revolve around dreams, food, existence, art and nature. The book did give hints of an erotic Kafka's A Hunger Artist. No, not erotic, not really, just modern and sensual and transformative. I liked it, but just didn't love it. I thought there were elements of beauty certainly and a strange hallucinogenic quality to it that reminded me a bit of Murakami. The tension around food, art, family, and sex were developed well, but still there just seemed something missing.
Beyond the literal story, this books message is about the defeat of femininity in a word dominated by men.
Reason and productivity vs. passion and empathy.
although the book might come as depressing and defeating, the fact that it exists is a clear evidence of how the world is changing even in a society as rigid and conservative (and make dominated) as the korean.
Women are witches and have been burnt for it.
They are in touch with nature and the universe beyond any male's simplistic vision.
Even the most sensitive man in the book (the brother in law) is portrayed as a coward whose ultimate purpose was to fornicate.
This books captures very well how limited men are
It's a call for action
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