Oh My - 'The Vegetarian' By Han Kang - {Oh My is my reaction}

   The vegetarian by han kang    Published by Hogarth, February 2, 2016  (first published October 2007)  GENRES: AduLt Fiction   PAGES:   192    FORMAT:   Hardback   SOURCE:   Purchased   PACING: {3/5}

The vegetarian by han kang
Published by Hogarth, February 2, 2016 (first published October 2007)
GENRES: AduLt Fiction
PAGES: 192
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
PACING: {3/5}

Hai bookies, omg, I am truly excited because this year is turning out to be one of the most amazing years of my life and a lot of it has to do with the O-mazing bookstagram community. I have so many goodies in store that I cannot wait to share with you and this is my very first photo and review for this blog. Yay!!

I had the opportunity to buddy read with one of my sweet bookstagram {book community on Instagram} friends @bookiewithoutborders {Follower her. Her photos are totally BEAUTIFUL!!}

'The Vegetarian' is one of the most bizarre, disturbing, traumatizing, horrifying books I have ever read. I can assure you that this book is not for the faint at heart. Written by Han Kang, it dwells in the crevices of your very thoughts and lingers for days. When I use the word 'horrifying' I don't mean in terms of paranormal elements but an authentic psychological bender. Kang brilliantly captured the slow decline of a young Korean wife, Yeong-hye, who 'had a dream'; a sentiment she repeats lethargically throughout the book. This recurring dream causes her to become not 'A' vegetarian, but 'THE'. The title itself denotes a difference, a separation, a singularity of some sort in such a simple decision to stop eating meat. In hindsight, we know already that it's deeper than that.

This is not a story about a healthy life style change. Yeong-Hye is spiraling down the abyss of mental illness possibly driven by the rigid traditions of being a woman in her Korean culture. This book is a 3 part novella told from the POV of Yeong-hye's despicable, self centered and controlling husband who works in an office {Part 1), her artsy brother in law {Part 2} and her older, whom I thought to be, flighty sister who owns a cosmetic store {Part 3}. Each of their positions in life defines who they were. At first her family firmly disagreed with her new found "vegetarianism", but soon her gaunt form, insomnia, lack of emotion and her extreme lethargy causes rage among her kin, particularly her supremely overbearing father.

 Although this novella is small in size, it makes up for it in subtle allegories about culture, politics, violence, women's roles and sociological factors. This novel is NOT for those younger than 18 in my opinion. It is chock-full of consensual and non consensual sex thanks to her husband forcing himself upon her as she ascends into further despair.  Her father attempted to force ­feed her meat during a family gathering {supposed intervention} and when his attempt failed, he hit Yeong-hye which caused her to harm herself. Hang addressed all of these issues without directly addressing them, but rather crafted them subtly with shocking scenarios of the aforementioned. 

Yeong-Hye cannot be saved. When I first started reading it, I deducted that her dream, which prompted her to become a herbivore, was her way of gaining control over something in her life; anything. After continued reading I realized that was a bit off base and her dreams about flesh possibly represented self disgust; visions of her self hatred, bloody, lifeless, sizzling meat and dead birds clinched in her fist. Yeong-Hye wants to perish and she wants to do it slowly. She did not see her self as worthy ~ lifeless. I loved the way Hang wrote Yeong-­hye’s thoughts in italics, It was like reading her journal or diary as she plunged into a complete mental breakdown.

Can only trust my breasts now. I like my breasts; nothing can be killed by them. Hand, foot, tongue, gaze, all weapons from which nothing is safe.” “Why am I changing like this? Why are all my edges sharpening — what am I going to gouge?

She was totally aware of the physical changes happening via her decision, but was still in deep thought about hurting herself. Starving herself was not enough.

"The Vegetarian" was originally published in South Korea in 2007 and inspired by the author’s short story “The Fruit of My Woman”. This is the English translated version. The syntax is beautiful and it is uniquely written. I typically do not read books of this nature. It was extremely depressing, well written lol, but depressing and the pacing was a bit slow.

My Rating:{3/5}