21st Century Literature discussion

The Vegetarian
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2016 Book Discussions > The Vegetarian - General Discussion, No Spoilers (July 2016)

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message 1: by Marc (last edited Jul 28, 2016 08:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marc (monkeelino) | 2824 comments Mod
This thread is for general discussion about the book and/or author (background info, comments about writing style, etc.). Please post any comments that might contain spoilers in one of the other discussion threads.

This novel is told in three parts with Yeong-hye being the central character, but each part told by a different family member (Part 1 narrated by the husband, Part 2 narrated by the brother-in-law, and Part 3 narrated by the sister).

Some reviews (many of which contain spoilers):
- The Guardian
- Slate
- The New York Times
- Kirkus

Interviews with Han Kang
-The White Review (discusses The Vegetarian and Human Acts
-Banana Writers (mostly discusses Human Acts)
-LTI Korea (Youtube video w/ English subtitles)

Robyn | 17 comments I've just started. My knowledge of Korea is limited to: WWII history, watching a few K-Pop videos, once reading an article about fan death, and a deep appreciation for their food. I'm hoping the latter will help with this, and that I might gain a bit more insight into South Korean culture.

Marc (monkeelino) | 2824 comments Mod
Robyn, I think quite a few of us are unfamiliar with Korean customs and norms. This link about sexuality in South Korea seems pretty relevant to this book.

Here's an interview with Kang's literary agent (no spoilers in this one).

Marc (monkeelino) | 2824 comments Mod
Through the end of July, you can enter the GR giveaway for Han Kang's Human Acts:

Julie (readerjules) | 197 comments Marc wrote: "Through the end of July, you can enter the GR giveaway for Han Kang's Human Acts:

Thanks for letting us know!

Marc (monkeelino) | 2824 comments Mod
Hopefully, someone from this group wins, Julie!

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2397 comments I've not won a book in more than 5 years, so my expectations of ever doing so again are very low! But, I do keep trying - cheaper than playing the Lottery!

Marc (monkeelino) | 2824 comments Mod
I've only won once before and it was this year so the odds are probably not in my favor. But as you said, the price is right!

Ernie (ewnichols) | 58 comments From the Man Booker website:

Mantel's Cromwell . . . still alive
Submitted by Arthur on Fri, 2017-07-07 19:19

A reflection of modern academia or of the importance of the Man Booker International Prize? One of the papers presented at a conference at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, was a forensic examination of how faithful the translator Deborah Smith had been to the original text of Han Kang's 2016 MBI-winning The Vegetarian. Apparently 10.9 per cent of the first part of the novel was mistranslated while another 5.7 per cent of the original text was omitted. But does this actually matter? A carefully-argued study of the Korean reaction to the Smith-Han collaboration argues that in some instances the translation actually intensifies the effect of the original and makes Han’s narrative 'stronger and more complex . . . and hence, more provocative to read'. What's more, the writer notes, 'It would serve us well to remember that 'unfaithfulness to the original' doesn’t necessarily mean betrayal, as if the translator carried out wilful acts of mistranslation.' Absolute fidelity to a text remains a knotty subject but “ultimately, Smith carried out perhaps the most important task of all: she successfully introduced a work of literature to people who might otherwise never have had a chance to read it. In that regard, Smith was faithful to the end.”

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