A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams-invasive images of blood and brutality-torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It's a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that's become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself. Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman's struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.
"Surreal ...(A) mesmerizing mix of sex and violence...vivid, chiseled...Like a cursed madwoman in classical myth, Yeong-hye seems both eerily prophetic and increasingly unhinged." - Alexandra Alter, The New York Times "Ferocious...[Han Kang] has been rightfully celebrated as a visionary in South Korea... Han's glorious treatments of agency, personal choice, submission and subversion find form in the parable. There is something about short literary forms - this novel is under 200 pages - in which the allegorical and the violent gain special potency from their small packages... Ultimately, though, how could we not go back to Kafka? More than 'The Metamorphosis,' Kafka's journals and 'A Hunger Artist' haunt this text." - Porochista Khakpour, New York Times Book Review "Astonishing...Kang viscerally explores the limits of what a human brain and body can endure, and the strange beauty that can be found in even the most extreme forms of renunciation." - Entertainment Weekly "Sometimes how a book or a film puzzles you-how it may mystify even its own creator-is the main point. The way it keeps slithering out of your grasp. The way it chats with you in the parlor even as it drags something nameless and heavy through the woods out back....That's the spirit in which to approach The Vegetarian ... The Vegetarian has an eerie universality that gets under your skin and stays put irrespective of nation or gender."- Laura Miller, Slate.com "This book is both terrifying and terrific."- Lauren Groff " The Vegetarian was slim and spiky and extremely disturbing, and I find myself thinking about it weeks after I finished." Jennifer Weiner, popsugar.com " The Vegetarian is one of the best novels I've read in years. It's incredible, daring, and stunningly moving. I loved it."- Laura van den Berg "A short novel of sexuality and madness that deserves its great success."- Ian McEwan "If it's true you are what you read, prepare to be sliced and severed, painted and slapped and fondled and broken to bits, left shocked and reeling on the other side of this stunning, dark star of a book."- Amelia Gray "It takes a gifted storyteller to get you feeling ill at ease in your own body. Yet Han Kang often set me squirming with her first novel in English, at once claustrophobic and transcendent... Yeong-hye's compulsions feel more like a force of nature... A sea like that, rippling with unknowable shadow, looks all but impossible to navigate-but I'd let Han Kang take the helm any time."- Chicago Tribune "Provocative...shocking."- The Washington Post "[An] utterly deserving winner of this year's Man Booker International Prize...with haunting, almost hallucinatory beauty."- Entertainment Weekly , Best Books of 2016 so far "This is a deceptive novel, its canvas much larger than the mild social satire that one initially imagines. Kang has bigger issues to raise... The matter of female autonomy assumes urgency and poignancy."- The Boston Globe