Savvy Book – The Vegetarian

Han Kang’s ‘The Vegetarian’, currently available at Waterstones, is an emotive tale detailing the oft-times oppressive nature of marriage.

A young woman has her chances of finding herself cut short, when she is targeted for marriage by a man who seeks out (rather than desires) one such as her, i.e. submissive, obedient and – in his eyes – bland.

But what is quashed must come out somehow and the domesticated object of a bland wife becomes rebellious – turning vegetarian!

Rejecting all persuasions and forced attempts, by family and associates, to get her to eat meat, Yeong-hye becomes more and more introspective:

‘She was unable to say even a single word in case, when she opened her mouth to speak, the meat found its way in.’ (p.40)

Increasingly, Yeong-hye shuts herself away in a quiet place to read a good book, or to curl up, trance-like, into an inanimate ball on her sofa.

Far from making herself into a nothing, however, Yeong-hye is transformed into the sexualised object of her brother-in-law’s obsessional desires.

The readers is left questioning whether the brother-in-law is any better than the husband, as both patriarchs, in my view, fail to recognise her as a fully-fledged human being in her own right.

Han Kang’s novel won The Man Booker International Prize back in 2016 but, with current opinion extolling the benefits of a non-carnivorous lifestyle, I’m predicting its immediate return to the bestseller lists!

Beautifully written and deeply disturbing …

So get on and read it!

Copyright owned by Jay Cool, 14th October, 2019

Image by Justin Martin from Pixabay


More book reviews & other stuff by Jay Cool:

Savvy Books – Not Yet Wall

Savvy Book – The Marble Collector

Savvy Book – The Girl With All The Gifts

Savvy Article – Climatopause

Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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