Discussion: The Vegetarian By Han Kang

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Discussion: The Vegetarian By Han Kang
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A beautiful, unsettling novel in three acts, 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.

"This book is about transformation: birthmarks bloom into flowers, trees alight with flames, a bird speaks with a mother’s voice. Kim Yeong-hye internalizes the aggressions and microagressions in her life until her dreams become unbearably violent. She stops consuming meat, then all food, attention, love, and ideas until she becomes more plantlike than animal to the people around her. Kim In-hye cuts all ties to everyone in her life (except her young son) in her refusal to abandon Yeong-hye. This book is about the violence that women hold onto inside themselves, and the only way to let go is to let go of the entire world. It reminds me much of Young-ha Kim’s I Have The Right To Destroy Myself. Lyrically translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith, The Vegetarian is scheduled to come out in February. Expect me to talk about it nonstop until then."
--Jan D.

You can purchase this book here: http://www.bookpeople.com/book/9780553448184
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