the vegetarian

ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOUR MIND?

A REVIEW OF HAN KANG’S THE VEGETARIAN

No, I am joking this book is not one written as a self-help or persuasive novel showing how awful the slaughter of animals are or how meat Affects the brain. No, this south Korean book was introduced to me by a friend as part of book club. As I worked my way through, I found vivid images both beautiful and disturbing dancing across my mind. A fleeting connection to normality and reality which slowly throughout blurred into non-existence. I have never read anything written from an east Asian cultural perspective, so it was hard to tell if the scenes of family interaction were as shocking as if they were committed in the western world.

The storyline is very fluid and at times difficult to follow and unsure of what will happen next. It was tough to follow but I liked that unexpected nature of the story. There were some seriously graphic descriptions which I’ll be honest I did find upsetting and they are probably some of the most visually descriptive gory scenes so be prepared if you plan on indulging in this literature. The fluid narrative sort of develops through the book and by the end it was serious unclear of who was talking and at what point in time we were. I guess this was done to mimic the mentality of the main character as it spiralled out of control. In the end it was almost unfinished. I wasn’t in a place where I wanted more however I felt content that I simply witnessed a section of a person’s life unknowing how it would affect the rest of the family but almost in a sad way glad to have it end as it was such a heavy story.

I have purposefully not given too much away because as equally gory and confusing this book was I overall enjoyed the read. I was lost for a while in a culture I will never understand and visualised a story that will never cross my path.

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