Review: The Vegetarian

The Vegetarian
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So very fascinating and unusual, I’m undecided whether this was brilliant or ordinary, it is certainly metaphysical and explores ground that I’ve never read before. I don’t know whether I’ve ever read a book set in South Korea and I really enjoyed reading about the family dynamics, the culture and the societal attitudes, particularly those of husbands and wives.
One night a woman has a dream, a nasty violent dream and from that point on she realises that she cannot eat meat any longer. Meat seems to be an important part of life in her family and her husband is embarrassed at her decision. You get her story firstly from her husband, a man who I found it hard to like, from her sister’s husband, also strange and also from her sister. All of these people are concerned about her and as she becomes thinner and begins wasting away, they react in different ways. Her mental illness is increasingly difficult to deal with for everyone in her family, but she feels a compulsion to become one with the dirt and the forest.
All very different, very strange and nothing like anything I’ve read before. I did really like this novel and the writing is quite fabulous at times, but it is not one for everyone.

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