The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The VegetarianThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Vegetarian Review

The Vegetarian is a narrative about a once-normal woman, Yeong-hye, who decides to become vegetarian after a particular dream followed by a series similar to it. Although being a vegetarian is not necessarily wrong, Yeong-hye decides to take this to the next level by being paranoid with the taste of anything but plant-based food, until she considers becoming “one with nature” in the end.

The story is pretty straight-forward and it does not have any unnecessary fillers—it begins with Yeong-hye deciding to become a vegetarian so that it sets the botanical, lunatic atmosphere all-throughout the book. As a thriller, this is a plus for the book since including only the relevant sub-plots make it fast-paced and compelling to be read. The book is also told in third-person, but in each of the three sections, there is a character that is followed by our narrator: the husband, the brother-in-law, and the sister. Personally, the first section is the most captivating because we see how Yeong-hye starts to develop an excruciated character while the other two sections develop this character, but by this time, we will have grown accustomed to it. This is why I don’t find the rest of the book as mind-fucking as other people would claim; Yeong-hye’s character already grew on me, and I guessed the path where she was headed.

In the end, The Vegetarian takes into account the critical and rare condition of a mentally-ill person, and it does its job well with the pacing and the shifts of the characters to focus on. It’s a good novel to read when you’re feeling weird.

3.5/5

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When He Said He Hated Poetry

[Free Verse]

When he said he hated poetry
Words and lines of form and beauty
It was in truth for you

When he was dry as a desert floor
Speaking less without wanting more
It was so because of you

When he beamed like a summer day
In eyes and cheeks and lips all the way
It was not meant for you

When he shut the door after a glance
And the world stood in a trance
It was all inside of you

When Bliss gave her taste a spoonful
And after you swallowed it a mouthful
It was bitter

Reminders

[Ballad]

Don’t feel special when there’s a start
of a conversation in a screen
She will either give one word to part
or leave you with a hopeless “seen”

Don’t feel special when you meet an eye
With the same black pupils so wide
For those few seconds are a lie
Even though they seem to confide

Don’t feel special when her lips open
to utter words or show a smile
Even when she sounds outspoken
It will only last for a while

Don’t feel special when she lends you
the music that causes her to groove
Everyone does that; nothing new
She only wants you to approve

Don’t feel special when you see ink
that dances around your forearm
It only takes your eyes to blink
to see that it is just her charm

Don’t feel special when you find yourself
with the same crowd she frequents to
Like a book just added to her shelf
You are but pushed through and piled onto

Don’t feel special when you get as close
as two bushes appearing as one
For when you feel lone and need her the most,
She will be there with her sympathy gone

Rain in April

[Petrarchan Sonnet]

In a tropical month of the fourth
There is but a wind as gentle as brush
and old pasture would be the new lush
Bringing a set of tiny footsteps forth

But the heat can be that of west by north
When water is pulled with an upward flush
Then below again, an alien of gush
A repeat from before the month of the fourth

Though there I see the pitter-patter
that challenge the steam like unflinching geese

As the cold absence of usual chatter
warm the chill with the tropic and her fleece

Thus when the ardent sky makes a splatter
It is not for flooding, but for release