The Vegetarian: A Novel - Han Kang

The Vegetarian is a dark and disturbing tale about Yeong-Hye, a Korean woman, who suddenly decides to become a vegetarian. Her husband and family can´t deal with her decision, especially since her only explanation for said decision is that she had a dream. And what starts as a simply decision to become a vegetarian soon turns into a pretty serious mental health issue.

 

I did not like this book. And it´s not because it is dark or disturbing or appaling or repugnant. It´s because a lot of things in this novel simply didn´t work for me:

 

  •  The story is told through the perspectives of Yeong-Hye´s husband, her brother-in-law and her sister. The reader has to piece all the information about Yeong-Hye´s characters together by these accounts. And the perspective of the brother-in-law didn´t add anything at all to the story or the deeper understanding of her character and her issues. The only thing that his perspective did prove is that he is a first-class-pervert.
  •  All the characters are horrible and abusive towards Yeong-Hye. I genuinly felt sorry for her.
  •  Since I don´t know anything about South Korean society it is hard for me to say, if this book is supposed to be a social commentary and I´m not even sure if the author is exaggerating or not. I simply don´t know what to make of this book.
  •  I got a slight feeling that some weird symbolism stuff is going on in this book, something that I´m not particularly fond of and more than often simply don´t get.

 

I didn´t enjoy it, I had some issues with it and this book just isn´t for me. The premise of this novel may be an intriguing one, but its execution lacked considerably.