Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith
Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2015Challenge: Prize Winners? Translated Works? Genre: Asian Lit Type/Source: Hardback / Gift from Ruthiella – THANKS! Why I read this now: A book in hand will get read.
MOTIVATION for READING: Ruthiella was kind enough to send it to me. I ran out of books on the boat (well, I have two, I think, on my Kindle yet?)
WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young woman, Yeong-hye, is assaulted by horrific dreams (and is also married to a cad.) She decides to forego eating meat because of these dreams and this upsets pretty much EVERYONE. Told from three perspectives — the cad of a husband, her sister’s husband and her sister — and not Yeong-hye, though we do see bits of her dreams.
In the words of The Guardian:
“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence . . . This South Korean novel is a feast . . . It is sensual, provocative, and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors, and disturbing questions. . . Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. . . [It] will be hard to beat.”
WHAT’s GOOD: Oh, it is deliciously disturbing. The writing IS lyrical, the images are startling, the mood is darkly apprehensive.
As LINDA says in the blurbs at the beginning of my copy of the book:
“[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister book.”
FINAL THOUGHTS: A perfect book for RIP if you don’t get to it before this fall.
RATING: Four slices of pie. No pastries mentioned but I think every fruit available in Korea might make an appearance. Lots of food descriptions.