Guest Book review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

March 21, 2017

Han Kang is a writer who comes from South Korea originally who received a few awards in the field of literature. She wrote The Vegetarian book back in the year 2007 but the book was published in English this year only.

I wrote of a human being who did not want to be human in this world.”
Han Kang

Buy The Vegetarian from Amazon.com

Buy The Vegetarian from Amazon.com

The novel consists of three parts each of which is narrated by one of different characters but neither on behalf of the main female character Yeong-Hye. From little extracts only we get to know about her dreams and thoughts. The narration is straight-line.

The husband of the main lady character tells the first part. He speaks of her as a completely unremarkable in every way wife who acts weird all of a sudden. She throws out an expensive eel out of the fridge in the middle of the night, then eggs and milk, meat and serves a salad for dinner made of soy-bean paste and a soup of oar weed. She claims she will never ever eat meat again. She refuses to iron shirts of her husband and to put socks on his feet. He treats her as if she was his property, which is of no surprise as long as it is a common thing in Eastland. She simply had a dream. This is how she explains the way she acts. Then, there is a scene of feeding her with pork forcefully by her own father while her husband and husband of her sister were holding her hands. She took a paring knife and cut herself. After this accident, she was put to the nut hospital.

The second part of the novel is told by the exact same sister`s husband who took her to the hospital when she hurt herself. He is of a deeply artistic nature. He edits meaningful movies with unclear video sequence and apart from that, he does not do anything else. This is where traditional for Chinese, Japanese and Korean strange events started to happen, which work with narrative logic but which are absolutely impossible to explain apart from the book. In particular we have a Mongolian mark here, painting body with flowers and foliage patterns, meeting between her sister`s husband and his ex-wife in order for her to paint flowers on his body late at night in an empty office, home video and bingo! – Involuntary admission to health center in the country.

The main lady character`s sister tells the third part trying to free her actions from a charge. For example, we find out that the main lady character is strange for a reason. She was beaten by her father in early childhood. All the family knew but everyone stayed aside. Her sisters visits her in the hospital. She stopped eating. At all. Even vegetables. Yeong-Hye is in that stage of exhaustion, which leads to fatal case and yes, involuntary feeding takes place again.

This book shows the patriarchal relations, which are endlessly romanticized. While a wife does everything her husbands wants, everything is quite alright. As soon as she decides to become a vegetarian, things go wrong. Even though the main female character got to nut hospital, she remains the only one who seems to be psychologically normal. There is a movie shot in the year 2009 based on the book.

Buy The Vegetarian from Amazon.com

About the author: Melisa Marzett working for skywritingservice.com at this time, is a unique writer, blogger and author of lots of articles, each of which is marvelous in its own way. Looking through her pieces, you get to know what it is like when a person is crazy about what she does. Crazy in a good sense of the word.

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