The Vegetarian Paperback – 13 Jun 2016
Product Description Review 'Kang has crafted a wounding unsetling book. The fantastical imagery of plants trees and flowers reinforce Yeong-hye's purity. The book is a journey in trying to understand her and the reactions she inspires in others. The book is a journey in trying to understand her and the reactions she inspires in others... Han Kang's greatest achievement is crafting a small table from which great things grow' -- Irish Examiner 'A startling new novel... The Vegetarian is a story about metamorphosis rage and the desire for another sort of life. It is written in cool still poetic but matter-of-fact short sentences translated luminously by Deborah Smith who is obviously a genius' -- Deborah Levy 'This short novel is one of the most startling I have read. Han Kang is well served by Deborah Smith's subtle translation in this disturbing book' -- Independent on Sunday 'Elegantly translated into bone-spare English by Deborah Smith The Vegetarian is a book about the failures of language and the symmetries of the physical. Yet its message should not undermine Han's achievement as a writer. Like its anti-protagonist The Vegetarian whispers so clearly it can be heard across the room insistently and with devastating quiet violence' -- New Statesman 'Enthralling... It has a surreal and spellbinding quality especially in its passage on nature and the physical landscape so beautiful and so magnificently impervious to the human suffering around it' -- Independent 'Sensual provocative and violent ripe with potent images startling colours and disturbing questions. Sentence by sentence The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience' -- Guardian '[The Vegetarian is] about a madness in which the mad woman is only the subject never the speaker. It's a novel that illustrates the patriarchal nature of South Korea in subtle provocative ways. And it's a beautiful book about a woman who after having a disturbing dream decides to become a vegetarian and ends with her transforming into a tree' -- Chad W Post Frankfurt Show Daily 'A haunting hypnotic read Han Kang's novel is a bold example of what world literature has to offer us here in Britain' -- Harper's Bazaar 'The Vegetarian is so strange and vivid it left me breathless upon finishing it. I don't think I've ever read a novel as mouth-wateringly poetic or as drenched in hypnotic oddities taboos and scandal. It seems to have been plucked out of the ether ready-made to take us all by surprise' -- New Internationalist 'Unsettling... A strange and ethereal fable rendered stranger still by the cool precision of the prose' -- Times Literary Supplement 'Mind-blowing... Han skilfully builds the story. The writing throughout is precise and spare. The Vegetarian quickly settles into a dark menacing brilliance. Deborah Smith's quiet underplayed translation is effective at evoking a mood of suppressed dread. For all the graphic often choreographed description Han Kang has mastered eloquent restraint in a work of savage beauty and unnerving physicality' -- Irish Times 'One of the most erotic literary novels of the season... The Vegetarian has been praised on both sides of the Atlantic as strange visionary and transgressive' -- Economist Book of the Year New Statesman chosen by Eimear McBride 'A transformative fable about desire frustration and individual will' Best Books of 2015 Guardian 'An irresistibly weird and sensuous story of betrayals transformations...and social taboos. This one is not for children. But read it anyway' -- Book of the Year New Statesman chosen by Daniel Hahn 'Han Kang's vivid and at times violent storytelling will wake up even the most jaded of literary palates' --Independent 'The Vegetarian is hypnotically strange sad beautiful and compelling. I liked it immensely' -- Nathan Filer Costa Award winning author 'A truly memorable novel [with] visceral and unfaltering writing that is innately uneasy to read [...] Han Kang expertly structures the novel around the three long chapters that explore the voices around Yeong-Hye. Though the narrative is never hers Yeong-Hye remains the focus of the novel throughout. Each chapter features dream sequences which blur the everyday and ethereal and provide the reader with rich and dynamic prose. The fact that these sequences work so well in The Vegetarian is a huge credit to the work of Deborah Smith who achieves a translation that is wonderfully readable in English whilst at the same time profoundly different to English language novels.' -- Words Shortlist blog 'Fraught disturbing and beautiful The Vegetarian is a novel about shame desire and our faltering attempts to understand others.' --Western Morning News 'You may think you know where Han's English-language debut novel is going but you have no idea...[it is] a tale of obsession grotesque physicality and art... This is a horror story in its depiction of the unknowability of others - of the sudden feeling that you've never actually known someone close to you. It's also a decidedly literary story for its exploration of despair' inner unrest' and the pain of coming to understand yourself. There is much to admire in Han's novel. Its three-part structure is brilliant gradually digging deeper and deeper into darker and darker places; the writing is spare and haunting; but perhaps most memorable is the crushing climax a phantasmagoric yet emotionally true moment that's surely one of the year's most powerful. This is an ingenious upsetting and unforgettable novel' - Gabe Habash Publishers Weekly 'Paradoxically both enlightening and incomprehensible. It is a strange book with overtones of Kafka and a plot that has no resolution. And yet it consumes its reader turning the seeming banality of a woman's decision not to eat meat into a surreal psychological odyssey' -- Xenobe Purves Litro 'The winner of the 2016 Man International Booker Prize is an unsettling sensual and surreal novel about a dutiful wife who rebels against her stultifying marriage.' the i paper 'Intriguing' -- Charlotte Mendelson Observer 'At once dreamy and nightmarish a beautiful horror and easily one of the best books I've read in years' -- Lisa McInerney Guardian '[An] engrossing read which takes you deep into the fascinating and complex world of another culture South Korea. The harrowing but beautifully told story of a woman who could not conform' -- Western Morning News 'A scorching novel about one woman's experience in a patriarchal society: it has a brutal eloquence' --Eileen Battersby Irish Times About the Author HAN KANG was born in Gwangju South Korea and moved to Seoul at the age of ten. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her writing has won the Yi Sang Literary Prize the Today's Young Artist Award and the Korean Literature Novel Award. She currently teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. DEBORAH SMITH's translations from the Korean include two novels by Han Kang The Vegetarian and Human Acts and two by Bae Suah A Greater Music and Recitation. In 2015 Deborah completed a PhD at SOAS on contemporary Korean literature and founded Tilted Axis Press. In 2016 she won the Arts Foundation Award for Literary Translation. She tweets as @londonkoreanist.
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