La vegetariana

240 pages

Spanish language

Published Sept. 26, 2017

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4 stars (3 reviews)

The Vegetarian (Korean: 채식주의자; RR: Chaesikjuuija) is a South Korean three-part novel written by Han Kang and first published in 2007. Based on Han's 1997 short story "The Fruit of My Woman", The Vegetarian is set in modern-day Seoul and tells the story of Yeong-hye, a part-time graphic artist and home-maker, whose decision to stop eating meat after a bloody, nightmarish dream about human cruelty leads to devastating consequences in her personal and familial life.Published on 30 October 2007 in South Korea by Changbi Publishers, The Vegetarian was received as "very extreme and bizarre" by the South Korean audience. "Mongolian Mark", the second and central part of the novel was awarded the prestigious Yi Sang Literary Prize. It has been translated into at least thirteen languages, including English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. The Vegetarian is Han's second book to be translated into English. The translation was conducted by the British …

5 editions

Culturally translatable ascetism

5 stars

This was a difficult book to finish. I wanted to finish it, for about a week, but the last 50 or so pages are emotionally harrowing. Hard work.

Stylistically beautiful. Terse and without any extraneous detail, it reads a bit like a ascetic philosophical exploration of decisions in society.

A lot of other reviews (and the blurb above) focus on the book's setting in Korea -- traditionally meat-heavy diet, traditionally rigid patriachal family structure etc. I didn't find this -- apart from the names of people (which are few) and the descriptions of food, there is very little to locate this book in space or time beyond being somewhat modern.

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4 stars