Reviews

Review: The Vegetarian

Hello fellow readers !!

Firstly, A Bookish Human hit 200 followers on Tuesday, so a HUGE thanks and tight hugs to all 226 followers (including the ones subscribed through e-mail) and the ones who follow on bloglovin’ (sorry, couldn’t get an exact count) !! You people are the BEST !! THANK YOU !!

I’ve also decided to post the Q & A post on the 17th instead of 15th, so that it aligns with my blogging schedule. If you’re new to my blog, check the Q&A announcement post here and if you have any questions to ask, leave it in the comments of that post. Comments are open till 15th.

FYI, unlike my other reviews, this one doesn’t have a “reasons you should read this book” list at the end. Hopefully, you’ll understand why.

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Author: Han Kang tveg

Genre: Psychological Drama

Goodreads rating: 3.59/5

Page Count: 188

Synopsis (Goodreads): Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

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REVIEW

This review has taken me some time to write. The reason being that this book takes some time to process and get used to. You might be thinking “She could’ve stayed without writing a review”, so here’s why. It has been weeks since I finished reading it and I’ve read 2 books since and am currently reading the 3rd. Yet, this book hasn’t left me. I usually don’t look back at a book for atleast a few months after I’ve finished it but this book refuses to get out of my mind. So, writing this review is also my way of hopefully burying this book for a while.

At 188 pages, it isn’t a very long book. It has a varying pace (generally fast) and has A LOT packed into those few pages. Despite this, it did take me some time to finish just because I needed a little time after each part to let it sink in and to process it. 

This is the story of Yeong-hye, who one fine day decides to turn vegetarian due to her nightmares. How Yeong-hye’s life and the lives of those around her change as a result of this decision forms the rest of the story.

The book is divided into 3 parts, each from the perspective of a different person. Yeong-hye’s own perspective though, is seen only in a few passages of the first part. The first part tells us of Yeong-hye’s decision from her husband’s perspective (the reader also gets to know Yeong-hye’s perspective on the decision) and her family’s reaction to the decision. The second part tells us about her brother-in-law (from his perspective) who’s an unsuccessful artist. The third part is told from the perspective of In-hye, Yeong-hye’s sister, the manager of a cosmetic store, who’s trying to find a way of dealing with the fallouts in the family.

This is definitely the weirdest and most unique book I’ve ever read. It’s dark and twisting and at the same time, it’s also honest and beautiful. I don’t just mean the writing. The writing is definitely beautiful, but even apart from that there’s something beautiful there. Exactly what ? I don’t know. I can’t really put my finger on it.

I also need to mention that this book is quite graphic and there are quite a few trigger warnings. Also, please keep this book well away from kids (specially if they’re, like my younger self, inquisitive about every book they find) because it might be too much for them to handle.

Trigger warnings:

  • Rape
  • Sex scenes
  • Suicide
  • If you’re an animal lover (specially a dog lover), a graphic scene in the first part could be quite disturbing
  • Violence

Would I recommend it ? If you can handle the above mentioned points under trigger warnings, then I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is also the only review, where I’ve decided to go with a star rating because emojis won’t do it justice.

MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Thank you for reading through that review. 😊

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Have a lovely weekend everyone !!

-Vrinda.

15 thoughts on “Review: The Vegetarian

  1. I have heard raving reviews about this book. It sure is on my reading list but it is gonna take a back seat for a while now.

    Gayathri @ Musings Over Nothing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats Vrinda! Happy to be a part of your 200+ followers 🙂
    This book definitely seems very intense. Not sure if i’ll be able to read it. But I must agree it is pretty innovative, crazy, freaking and weird idea for a book!!
    Thanks for sharing the review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on 200 followers, Vrinda!

    I did read The Vegetarian, and I had a mixed feeling about it. I sometimes felt like laughing at Yeong-hye’s decision, and sometimes sympathised with her. Nevertheless, I’ve left the book half-read, because it played with my mind in ways that scared me 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

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