Friday, February 12, 2016

Poetic and Grotesque

Source: Publisher Website
The Vegetarian by Han Kang (2007; Hogarth, 2016, 192pp.)

Mr. Cheong finds his mild-mannered existence interrupted when his wife, Yeong-hye, wakes up from a horrifying nightmare where she is surrounded by meat—bloody, dripping meat. The dream so disturbs her, she declares that she will henceforth live as a staunch vegan. Her family, who see vegetarianism as an unnatural act of social deviancy, is shocked and upset. Her artist brother-in-law, however, sees her as the key to completing his next masterpiece—an act that could destroy his peaceful marriage.

Ponderous, poetic, and grotesque, The Vegetarian is a short novel that flowers into a kind of intellectual horror story over the course of just 192 pages. Being psychological fiction, it may prove boring to lovers of slasher stories, however those who like their books slow and surreal will find it to be a literary treat. Just don’t read it while you’re eating.

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