The Vegetarian, by Han Kang- Group Read
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Me and Berly (Kim) are going to read The Vegetarian, by Han Kang together. By all accounts an interesting book, one which had some LT buzz last year. Join us- we start at some point in the next week, probably.
Come one, come all!
It has won accolades :)
Man Booker International Prize Shortlist (2016)
New York Times Best Books of the Year (2016)
New York Times Notable Book of the Year (2016)
Thanks Megan and Dr N!
Very interesting book.
I am loving it so far. It is shocking and just keeps getting more so!!! I have no idea what the second section holds, but by the title of that it could be a different story altogether.
Interesting! As soon as that section started from the pov of a different character, I was thinking, oh no. Now I have to get used to a different voice, but, it seems to flow well from one to the next. And the section is just as riveting as the first.
Still loving it.
Did the first section remind anyone else of Bartleby, the Scrivener? I kept having flashbacks to my American lit class as I was reading it.
Oh, good call on Bartleby! I haven't read that one since high school. But his constant reply of "I would prefer not to." and lack of affect are spot on for Yeong-hye.
In section two, Mongolian Mark, this line caught my eye: "She's a good woman, he thought. The kind of woman whose goodness is oppressive."
The contradiction is that I still thought it was a very good book, in its way, once you accept the limitation in characterisation the author's narrative choice of brute effect and shock value over believability and nuance brings. It was obviously a conscious choice to write more surreal vehicles for effect rather than characters more grounded in reality. In that context, I think it fitted well with the slightly darkly fantastical nature of the prose.
It was obviously not the book for me right now but that doesn't make it a bad book at all. A weird one I'd give 5 stars to and then explain why I hated it.
I feel like they are realistic characters, ones that I understand the motivations of. Even if I can't relate to them all that well.
Loved it, could only fault it for not being long enough, and for the ending being rather abrupt. The ending I wanted to see was
Nevertheless, I was very impressed by this book, and by this author. I want more!
Edited to add.....I am away on holiday from tomorrow, so don't be alarmed if I don't post more here....I will read and comment if I can, and I can't wait to see what other people think of it!
It was a fleeting thought, seeming all the more ridiculous by me writing it down. :)
I didn't like the book because:
1) I wasn't enamored of any of the main characters.
2) The sexuality in the book was stronger than I was expecting.
3) There is abuse, although not detailed (thank goodness).
4) Some of the characters have the strangest obsessions.
5) The ending didn't go where I wanted it to.
But far outweighing that...
1) I couldn't put it down.
2) It was an excellent descent into madness.
3) The writing was beautiful.
4) It starkly captured the imperfection of some marriage relationships.
4) It is a book I will never forget.
So, what do I rate it? 4.5! I will look of more by this author.
My favorite lines:
"He was becoming divided against himself. Was he a normal human being? More than that, a moral human being? A strong human being, able to control his own impulses? In the end, he found himself unable to claim with any certainly that he knew the answers to these questions, though he'd been so sure before."
"She's a good woman, he thought. The kind of woman whose goodness is oppressive."
"I don't know you," she muttered, tightening her grip on the receiver, which she'd hung back in the cradle but was still clutching. "So there's no need for us to forgive each other. Because I don't know you."
I agree >28 klarusu: that the third section completed this book for. And I also was hoping, like Megan,
Truly a memorable book for me.
Deborah Smith, 'What we talk about when we talk about translation' (Los Angeles Review of Books, 2018-01-11)
Claire Armitstead, 'Lost in (mis)translation? English take on Korean novel has critics up in arms' (Guardian, 2018-01-15)