A Novella by Han Kang
The Vegetarian was a captivating piece that was almost too bizarre and toxic to put down. In the book Yeong-hye, a housewife, has a dream that horrifies her into becoming a vegetarian overnight. Her husband doesn’t understand, and neither does her family. As her behavior becomes increasingly alarming to all of them, they all try to help her, or abandon her, or abuse her in different ways.
At one point her brother in law observes:
“It seemed enough for her just to deal with whatever it was that came her way, calmly and without fuss. Or perhaps it was simply that things were happening inside her, terrible things, which no one else could even guess at, and thus it was impossible for her to engage with everyday life at the same time. If so, she would naturally have no energy left, not just for curiosity or interest but indeed any meaningful response to all the humdrum minutiae that went on on the surface.”
Though Yeong-hye has many people around her trying to make her back into the woman she was before, they are all helpless in the face of her determination to take control of her own destiny.
“When a person undergoes such a drastic transformation, there’s simply nothing anyone else can do but sit back and let them get on with it.”
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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz