Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

img_1679Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and deservedly so.  I loved, loved, LOVED this novella.  Every sentence was loaded with such intent.  Not one word was wasted.  Barely 200 pages and one of the most evocative and powerful books I have ever read.

Without being facetious the book essentially is about a woman who decides to be vegetarian after she has a dream.  This lifestyle change warps into something altogether leading to The Vegetarian seeking to becoming..a tree – still and swaying with the winds.  Just beautiful. It sounds strange and unconnected but it just works.

The vivid descriptions of force feeding to raw animal (ironically) passion between man and woman Kang’s ability to describe feelings, thoughts and surroundings of The Vegetarian from the other perspectives is outstanding. You cannot help but feel sympathy for The Vegetarian. Our heroine.  I kept on wishing Kang would tell us about her dream – what happened, what did she see to make this change despite all social and familial pressures?

The chapters are all written from different perspectives: the first from the perspective of a husband, the second from the perspective of her brother in law who is sexually fascinated by her and the third from the perspective of her sister.  A genius decision as it connected the reader with how this decision affected different areas of her life – how all consuming this was.

I haven’t yet read the other shortlisted novels but I certainly will if this is the standard!

Recommended for: surreal literature lovers

Rating: 5/5 (I wish it was longer!)

Favourite quote:He had to rush out onto the veranda, now, and throw himself over the railing against which she was leaning…And yet he kept on standing there as if rooted to the spot, as if this was the final moment of his life, staring fixedly at the blazing flower that was her body, that body which now glittered with images so much more intense than those he had filmed during the night.

Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!

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