The Vegeterian

“Why, is it such a bad thing to die?”
― Han Kang, The Vegetarian 

Kuvahaun tulos haulle the vegetarian han kang The Vegetarian is a South Korean novella written by Han Kang and first published in 2007. It’s quite  a fascinating book: Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband live an ordinary life. Then Yeong-hye  becomes haunted by splintering, blood-soaked images and she decides to become a vegetarian. If the plot description doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, don’t worry. It’s supposed to be more on a poetic side.

“I want to swallow you, have you melt into me and flow through my veins.”
― Han Kang, The Vegetarian

Either way, as a result of her decision, she becomes an outcast. Novel is divided into three parts and our Yeong-hye is described through three different people. First, her husband who already dislikes her and does even more so when she stops eating meat. We move on to a second part where Yeong-hye is described by her sister’s brother who sees her more as an artist painting flowers on her body. And then finally in the third part , we see Yeong-hye through the eyes of her sister as Yeong-hee is in a mental hospital

“Know what?”
“I didn’t you see. I thought trees stood up straight… I only found out just now. They actually stand with both arms in the earth, all of them. Look, look, over there, aren’t you surprised? Yeong-hye sprang up and pointed to the window. “All of them, they’re all standing on their heads.”
― Han Kang, The Vegetarian

I read this book a year ago and I found it too difficult to give it a proper review back then. Now I picked up Kang’s new book ‘Human Acts’ and I knew that I  had to review this one before finishing it. I adore The Vegetarian. First it seems normal and thriller-istic (or Gone Girl ish)  you meet a couple and think that this will end up badly for one of them. But it’s not a thriller, it’s almost like a piece of poetry.  I loved how it slowly describes the birth and evolution of madness in Yeong-hye. First, she abandons meat but then something in her thinking shifts a bit and she doesn’t want to be this animal any longer. So she stops eating and believes she is becoming a tree. And I feel like it’s not just her going mad but everything around her and the nature too.

And then it’s not even about Yeong-hye. She may be the sun but this sun is only described by the planets rotating around it. This creates a sense of mystery or even an illusion of sorts. Something you know is real but yet something you cannot see or touch. I guess it also describes how mental illnesses affects the other people, close family especially.
5/5 stars

How-To Read Vegetarian
If you have seen Yayoi Kusama’s work and you have liked it…well this is same but in written. Kind of. I’m probably mentioning since the author mentioned it? It’s beautiful, crazy and confusing. This reminded me of Plath, Kafka and Rushdie all mixed up together. If you didn’t like Steppenwolf by Hesse then maybe you should skip this.
2. It’s very deep book and with unimaginably beautiful thoughts. A lot of them on madness, so don’t dive too deep.
3. It’s quite short of a book, perfect weekend read. Also I think it explains Korea well. For example, I had no idea that they loved meat so much.

Have you read this? Thoughts?

Featured image: ‘Infinity Mirrored Room — Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity’ by Yayoi Kusama 2009 — The Hirshhorn Museum (DC) March 2017 by Ron Cogswell

Me Before You

“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

Me Before You is a romantic novel written by Jojo Moyes. Shortly about the book, it centers a young, handsome, successful man, Will Traynor. Then everything changes when he’s hit by a motorcycle and it leaves him quadriplegic. Soon after, his mother hires a second caregiver to help with Will when his primary caregiver is absent. Louisa (Lou) Clark is recently unemployed, twenty-six years old, and has no experience being a caregiver, but she has a very positive, bubbly character and Will’s mother Camilla thinks hiring her would help Will. Except that Will has different plans for his life and Lou will find about it only later.

“All I can say is that you make me… you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

I surprised myself by reading this book. I usually never read romantic novels and I’m annoyed by the whole genre in general. But I’m always caught by the media hype and there was just huge hype around this book… so I read it. I had no idea what this book was about. I refused to read anything about it and I’m very glad I did that.

“Some mistakes… Just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

Me Before You was different. Different from what I expected this to be. I wasn’t disappointed, it was funny and moving (and highly depressing). I liked the characters, Will and Lou who are kind of complete opposites of each other. All these clichéd quotes were a bit annoying but I get it. There’s this theme throughout the book: quality or quantity of life. Will has lived his life to the fullest before the accident, whereas Louisa has lived in small town all her life, she has settled to the life she has. So, of course, Will tells her to live. Live her life to the fullest.

I’m glad this book mentioned and brought more attention to what Dignitas does. Extra points for that. Euthanasia is a very delicate subject and Moyes handled it very elegantly, I think. I liked how both sides are represented. There is no point in living life without quality to it but also there is no point in being stuck in life (like Lou).

“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

I didn’t like all the angst. I knew how Me Before You would end when I had read half of the book and I didn’t like the predictability and I kept hoping for a different ending. All in all, I adore books that make me feel and this did.
(3,5-4,5?) 4/5 stars

How-To Read Me Before You

1. If you like reading romantic novels & contemporary genre, this should be a perfect read for you. Also if you like authors like Nicholas Sparks and Cecelia Ahern.
2. If you don’t like books by John Green (Fault in Our Stars) or clichéd and annoying tearjerker books, definitely skip this.
3. Depressing, cute and fluffy read. Funny how the author made that combination work.
4. Some have said Me Before You plays a lot on stereotypes and that it doesn’t give a realistic picture disabled people. I didn’t see it like that and, after all, this is a work. fiction.
5. There’s a sequel. Yay? Nay? And a movie adaptation. Which I haven’t been able to watch yet.

“Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

Thoughts? Have you read this?