If you came here from the mothership and you read it regularly, you know that Korean film can be … interesting. The Vegetarian is like that but a book and I wanted so hard to NOPE right out of there but it was short and I was as intrigued as I was horrified which is I guess another way to describe Korean film. I don’t really recommend this book unless you enjoy staring wide-eyed at the world and saying on repeat, “What the FUCK did I just read.”
The more I read, the more I recognize that I am fundamentally a prude so this book just ran naked and screaming straight through my comfort zone and out the other side.
Ostensibly, this book is about a young Korean woman, Yeong-hye, who has a recurring nightmare that drives her to become more and more strictly vegetarian. It is told in three sections by three different narrators – her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister. I did find it a very odd choice to write a book about a young woman and what really seems to be mental illness, but give her none of the narration. So we see it all from the outside.
Look, I’m still confused. There’s a whole chunk of the book where her brother-in-law is obsessed with the idea of covering her in painted flowers and banging her, all because he finds out she has a birthmark on her rear. When I check out books off my library’s “Too Hot To Hold” list, it’s always a gamble, but with this one I’m still not sure whether I won or lost.