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La vegetariana

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  75,900 ratings  ·  10,633 reviews
«Ho fatto un sogno» dice Yeong-hye, e da quel sogno di sangue e di boschi scuri nasce il suo rifiuto radicale di mangiare, cucinare e servire carne, che la famiglia accoglie dapprima con costernazione e poi con fastidio e rabbia crescenti. È il primo stadio di un distacco in tre atti, un percorso di trascendenza distruttiva che infetta anche coloro che sono vicini alla pro ...more
Paperback, Fabula, 177 pages
Published October 13th 2016 by Adelphi (first published October 30th 2007)
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Lindsay
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lexie I live in Korea and came here as a vegetarian. I work in the public school system and we eat the cafeteria food together. At first I would pack my own…moreI live in Korea and came here as a vegetarian. I work in the public school system and we eat the cafeteria food together. At first I would pack my own food and I was always being bombared with questions.

Yes, my Korean co-workers were really concerned about my health. They just thought it was curious of me to intentionally make the choice to avoid eating a whole food group. Everytime I got sick they would imply it was in part due to my poor diet choices!

Also, food sharing is such a big part of Korean culture! In my experience I felt that if everyone was eating from the same dish, it was considered slightly rude to reject it. This made dinner outings quite difficult when I was the only vegetarian at a table! One co-teacher had told me that to reject a meal is to reject an offer of friendship.

Of course there is the Buddhist population and they have some lovely vegetarian restaurants, however they usually serve "temple food" rather than modern vegetarian creations. They also serve vegetarian meals at the temples.

This book takes it to another extreme of course, but I personally did find it kind of comical haha just because of how meat loving Koreans tend to be. :)(less)
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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
This book wasn’t a casual read for me. This is deeply personal to my own beliefs. I’m a vegan. This book sung a song that I heard in my marrow; it made me realise so much.

As a vegan I’ve experienced some of the things that I witnessed here. I can relate to it. I’ve lived it. I’ve been called a heretic. I’ve lost friends over it, and experienced much social awkwardness just for my lifestyle choice. I’m not pushy with my beliefs. Sometimes all it takes is a mention of the word “vegetarian” to be
...more
Matthew
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, library
Well . . . um . . . yeah . . . so

I guess that was good . . . maybe . . .

Kinda weird . . . I think . . .

Definitely a bit much . . . oh, no doubt . . . but . . .

Poignant perhaps . . . certainly heart strings were tugged . . . however . . .

Confusion! Yes! That's it . . . or, maybe not . . .

100% sure I was 90% moved by being 80% lost while at the same time being 70% disturbed . . .

This book . . . yup . . . it's . . . sure, I gu
...more
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
Update: Han Kang's book, "The Vegetarian", is the Man Booker international winner


Wow...****
****ZERO spoilers
I'm going to share my experience....and hope to find other readers to discuss this book with later.

I couldn't 'not' read this in anything less than one sitting.
If I keep thinking about this book, not only will I have a knot in my stomach as I do now...but I just might find myself crying my eyes out!

I haven't felt so many intense emotions from a book in a lo
...more
Navidad Thélamour
“Though the ostensible reason for her not wanting Yeong-hye to be discharged, the reason that she gave the doctor, was this worry about a possible relapse, now she was able to admit to herself what had really been going on. She was no longer able to cope with all that her sister reminded her of. She’d been unable to forgive her for soaring alone over a boundary she herself could never bring herself to cross, unable to forgive that magnificent irresponsibility that had enabled Yeong-hye to shuck ...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jared from Subway and fans of Vantage Point
Update #2: I've gotten enough comments from dudes for me to update this review. Oddly enough, it's just dudes, too. No woman has commented about how I'm wrong about Kang saying the book is an allegory for South Korea. And I can only guess it's because women ACTUALLY READ THE FUCKIN DESCRIPTION. From the dust jacket AND the product description here on Goodreads:

"A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day So/>"A
...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Nope.

This is the story of two sisters & their husbands & one woman's tendency toward violent, graphic dreams.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I was supposed to take from this book & I'm not going to pretend for the sake of sounding intelligent or profound that I "got it."

I absolutely did not enjoy reading this, and I'm thankful it was over quickly. The men in this book are repulsive & selfish, and I could not identify with either sister. The lack of straightforward communication b
...more
Justin
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, in this case, I'm much more interested in reading other people's reviews of the book rather than writing my own. I just feel like there are so many layers here, so many things that need to be discussed, so many unique interpretations, so many questions.

The first third of The Vegetarian is very Kafka-esque. It has a very Metamorphosis vibe to it. Maybe a little bit of Bird Box to give you a more contemporary example. It was dark. It was weird. It was bleak. It felt like every sentence
...more
Megan Johnson
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: international book lovers, and anyone looking for something different/memorable
Shelves: general-fiction
Han Kang's novel, 'The Vegetarian,' tells the story of Yeong-hye. Having recently had a dream that has convinced her to cease eating any meat whatsoever, and finds that such a decision is affect nearly all aspects of her life. Her family is trying to force her to eat meat, the relationships that once surrounded her are falling apart, and everyone is questioning whether she is insane. The thing is, she just might be losing her mind - and all because of a dream.

This book isn't super lo
...more
Whitney Atkinson
I gave myself 24 hours to think over this before rating it, but I still don't know... i'm left off very confused... This is a book about characters whose backstories and full character arcs aren't really explored, so it was jarring to read a character-heavy book whose main focus is on a woman that we never even see the perspective of. Maybe i'm missing something, and i'm horrified that I did because everyone else loves this book, but this just read very strangely to me. By the end I understood t ...more
Fabian
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's turned vegetarian... what a ridiculous b!+ch!

Riveting adult fiction. What do I mean by "adult"? In middle school you would not have understood it; in high school you would have hated it. But adults acting as children, having crises in front of their community at high noon? Yeah. I've been indoctrinated.

Han Kang has a taut, very animalistic tale of madness and marriage to share with us. So... Let's eat!!
MischaS_
Honestly? I don't know what to say. This was one of the hardest books to read, ever.

I started once a few months ago, and at the scene where (view spoiler), I broke. I could not continue. It was so painful. And I could not imagine the horror of your own family doing that to you.

The story is about Yeong-here but except for little snippets (dreams), we follow it through different POV. It had a certain feeling to
...more
Joseph Spuckler
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign
The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a South Korean novel told in three parts. Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung-won. She has gone on to win the Yi Sang Literary Prize (2005), Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. As of summer 2013, Han teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts while writing stories and novels.

The Vegetarian starts with a simple premise. A woman, Yeong-hye, decides to become a vegetarian and her family reacts to her decision. The novel is much/>The
...more
Lisa
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: man-booker
I read The Vegetarian during a day-long trip on buses, trains and planes, starting at about 8 o'clock in the morning, finishing when the plane touched down an hour late at my final destination.

Readers, be warned: this experiment should not necessarily be repeated, it may cause utter distress and embarrassment.

8 o'clock, inner city bus in a major German city:

"Before my wife turned vegetarian, I'd always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way."

...more
Michael
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A disturbing novel about anorexia, patriarchy, and abuse, The Vegetarian explores the emotional toll of violence against women. The novel follows Yeong-hye, a young South Korean woman trapped in a loveless marriage, as she stops eating meat and starts to starve herself and rebel against her callous family after having a blood-soaked nightmare. Yeong-hye’s behavior grows increasingly erratic and self-destructive across the novel’s three equal-length parts, in turn narrated from the perspectives of her husb ...more
Maxwell
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Vegetarian is a very cerebral novel. And yet, it's incredibly affecting. Han Kang is able to explore dark and twisted events--and characters--in a really engaging way. It's thrilling to see the story devolve, and I have to say I was never quite sure what was going to happen next. Overall it was such a fun reading experience (which if you've read this book definitely doesn't reflect the subject matter) mostly because the story felt so fresh and exciting. I really can't compare this to anything I've rea ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

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I'm almost at a loss for words on how to review this book. I loved it, it was sad and bizarre, but when dealing with mental illness, not that much is bizarre. I have my own mental illnesses so I don't put too much into what people think because there are those that support you and those that don't. And to me, in my opinion, I think Yeong-hy
...more
j e w e l s
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FOUR STARS

Call me crazy. I like to challenge myself with "intellectual" novels that win awards. THE VEGETARIAN was definitely demanding and it's another one to add to my appreciate, but didn't exactly enjoy it file.

This South Korean story of an "unremarkable" woman that wakes up from a nightmare and declares herself to be vegetarian is an odd story of rebellion. The woman absolutely infuriates her husband and parents with this assertive decision and somehow becomes a rebel, a subversive, an outcast. In
...more
Adina
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“She was no longer able to cope with all that her sister reminded her of. She'd been unable to forgive her for soaring alone over a boundary she herself could never bring herself to cross, unable to forgive that magnificent irresponsibility that had enabled Yeong-hye to shuck off social constraints and leave her behind, still a prisoner. And before Yeong-hye had broken those bars, she'd never even known they were there.”

For a small book it took me a lot of time to finish. The reason is that I w
...more
Seemita
[Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]

Many of us, if stretch a little, can recall the question that appeared in our science textbooks in primary schools: choose the living and non-living thing from the following options. While we conveniently tagged all humans, animals and plants to the ‘living’ side, everything else chugged to the ‘non living’ side. But did the divide stand the test of time?

Han Kang pushes this very divide to scintillating heights, reducing the line into
...more
Nat
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diverse-reads
Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat.

In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling dee
...more
Lark Benobi
This was a perfect, perfect book for me. The novel is simply told, and very short, but it touches on so many critical, cut-to-the-bone themes, including the most fundamental questions of identity, of gender, of responsibility toward others, and of what makes life worth living. In this novel the more outwardly stable and successful a character is, the less likely they are to have any perspective on their life choices. The more a given character becomes aware of their lived experience, the closer ...more
Nicola
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The feeling that she had never really lived in this world caught her by surprise.It was a fact.She had never lived.Even as a child as far back as she could remember,she had done nothing but endure.She had believed in her own inherent goodness, her humanity,and lived accordingly,never causing anyone harm.Her devotion to doing things the right way had been unflagging,all her successes had depended on it,and she would have gone on like that indefinitely.She didn’t understand why,but faced with tho ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Stunning. Sad. Disturbing. Powerful. Unique. Astonishing. Surprising. Profound. Painful. Distressing. Moving. Exceptional. Impacting.

This is straight into my Top Ten Reads of 2016! Skipping the long list and the short list.

Wow. Let me catch my breath. No wonder this book won The Man Booker Prize 2016. I've never read anything like it. Finally translated into English for us to treasure and delve into its depths!

Expect nothing when you read this book. Have an open mind. No preconceived concepts.
...more
Amerie
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an exceptional read. I expected a "weird" novel, but somehow, the characters and what they were doing seemed to make sense. There were characters I absolutely disliked, but as I cringed, I also understood their motivations. Meat, blood, sex, familial guilt, transcending our primal nature...this story is about those things and so much more, including what shapes us, and how strength and weakness can sometimes be the same thing. It's interesting that the main character of the novel doesn't have ...more
Caro the Helmet Lady
I can't say I "liked" this book, a word "appreciated" is more accurate. I appreciated it a lot.

First thought - I am glad I don't live in S. Korea, because of the level of patriarchal b-shit going on there. I knew that before I read this book, now I'm just a bit more aware of that. There were certain excerpts in the story that would drive berserk any western woman.
Nonetheless, this book works on more levels than just that. It is about sexism and discrimination, but it's also about di
...more
Rae Meadows
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is haunting, violent, moving, and utterly compelling. It's told in three parts, around a young woman named Yeong-hye, who we never hear from other than some descriptions of her terrifying dreams which led her to become a vegetarian. But she is the central character, the fulcrum for her husband, brother-in-law, and sister, each of whom narrate a section of the book.

In one pivotal (and awful) scene early on, her abusive father hits her and forces a piece of meat into Yeong-h
...more
Thomas
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, adult-fiction
I liked several aspects of The Vegetarian on an intellectual level. Han Kang does a great job portraying how women suffer from the male gaze, patriarchal standards that make them adhere to men, and abuse brought on by the forced consumption of meat and the men who partake in said consumption. As a future psychologist passionate about eating disorders, though, I abhorred how Kang portrayed Yeong-hye's descent into anorexia. Yes, I get that her refusal to eat meat and then food overall symbolizes her reject ...more
Darwin8u
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"She had never lived. Even as a child, as far back as she could remember, she had done nothing but endure."
-- Han Kang, The Vegetarian

description

A short novel made up of three interrelated stories of three related family members (a sister/vegetarian, her sister/responsible one, her sister's husband/artist). The stories revolve around dreams, f
...more
ALet
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
★★★ /5

It was interesting read. I really liked the themes and points it made, but to be honest plot was a little bit too weak to carry the story. This book is dark and grotesque which makes you think about various aspects of our society. I heard that a lot of people this book was very hard to read, but I didn’t encounter this problem, of course, at times it was shocking, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, I fly through this novel. However,
...more
David Yoon
So having read two Korean translations I’m entirely capable of passing judgement on a nation’s literary output. Apparently Korea is obsessed with guilt in a country where men are assholes.

Yeong-hye is described by her husband in the opening lines as “completely unremarkable in every way” then goes on to eschew meat of all kind. Naturally this leads to her cutting her wrists when her father tries to force meat into her mouth. She later sleeps with her sister’s husband after he paints
...more
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Vegan Book Club: Part Two: Thoughts + Comments 11 5 Jul 27, 2019 05:34PM  
Vegan Book Club: Part Three: Thoughts + Comments 6 11 Jul 16, 2019 05:59AM  
Vegan Book Club: Part One: Thoughts + Comments 10 10 Jul 11, 2019 01:50PM  
Vegan Book Club: The Vegetarian by Han Kang 8 10 Jul 09, 2019 09:57AM  
Play Book Tag: {Horizons} The Vegetarian by Han Kang - 3 stars 11 21 Mar 22, 2019 04:56AM  
Goodreads Italia: Traduzioni ponte: il caso di Han Kang 15 71 Jul 13, 2018 09:53AM  

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소설가 한강

Han Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung-won. She was born in Kwangju and at the age of 10, moved to Suyuri (which she speaks of affectionately in her work "Greek Lessons") in Seoul.

She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. She began her writing career when one of her poems was featured in the winter issue of the quarterly Literature and Society. She made her officia
...more
“The feeling that she had never really lived in this world caught her by surprise. It was a fact. She had never lived. Even as a child, as far back as she could remember, she had done nothing but endure. She had believed in her own inherent goodness, her humanity, and lived accordingly, never causing anyone harm. Her devotion to doing things the right way had been unflagging, all her successes had depended on it, and she would have gone on like that indefinitely. She didn't understand why, but faced with those decaying buildings and straggling grasses, she was nothing but a child who had never lived.” 174 likes
“Why, is it such a bad thing to die?” 80 likes
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