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
1. 
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

2017 in Books

2017 was crazy and magical. I was in Night Court with High Fae, I tried to rule Amber, I was in Underland with giant rats, beetles and bats, I founds answers in Weep and met Lazlo Strange, I participated in international Warcross Championships, I did quite a lot of travelling: I was on Mars, Erilea & Moon…also I sneaked into Ministry of Magic. I met a Lightning Girl who bore the weight of Silent Stone, I watched Endgame reach its final phase and I was obsessed with a beautiful stranger, an art student of a name Miranda.

Moreover, I imagined that Shakespeare had a sister: a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent and equal in genius, I had a nightmare and I became a vegetarian and then I think I sort of lost my mind and then there were hungry demons and howling werewolves.

I made some new friends. Death…  Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny and a girl with a mysterious psychic link with a monster. Those were interesting encounters not to forget about infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile.

I learned about different kind of Hunger, of how Marilyn Monroe called every man in her life “daddy” and then I was also Thinking Without Thinking. I met Thousand Naked Strangers and realized that truth can be so much worse than you could imagine and how there always are forgotten heroes.

 

 

In 2017, I read 60,224 pages across 200 books. A lot. You can check my adventures here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2017/21610643 This year I intend to read 300 books… it will be an adventure of kind I haven’t had in a long time :)

What were your best reads in 2017? What were your favorite places? Did you make any new friends?

Wishing you prosperous and bookish year 2018!