Contrary to what the title might suggest, the book only briefly touches on the philosophy of vegetarianism and the associated diet. The book subtly stresses the idea of a non-vegetarian person deciding to practice veganism. During a interview, Han Kang stated, "I think this novel has some layers: questioning human violence and the im possibility of innocence; defining sanity and madness; the im possibility of understanding others, body as the last refuge or the last determination, and some more.
It will be inevitable that different aspects are more focused on by different readers and cultural backgrounds.
The Vegetarian: A Novel (Fiction in Translation)
These were universal questions that occupied me as I wrote it". Boyd Tomkin, chairman of the Man Booker International Prize judging panel, lauded the book for its "disturbing outlook on a subject of vast interest", and Smith's "creative effort for blending beauty and horror". He commented, "This compact, exquisite, and disturbing book will linger long in the minds, and maybe the dreams, of its readers.
Deborah Smith's perfectly judged translation matches its uncanny blend of beauty and horror at every turn. Julia Pascal , writing for The Independent said, "It is the women who are killed for daring to establish their own identity. The narrative makes it clear it is the crushing pressure of Korean etiquette which murders them. Han Kang is well served by Deborah Smith's subtle translation in this disturbing book.
Calling it "an extraordinary story of family fallout", Daniel Hahn of The Guardian wrote, "Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. It is sensual, provocative and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors and disturbing questions. Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly called it an ingenious, upsetting, and unforgettable novel. He added, "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 its crushing climax, a phantasmagoric yet emotionally true moment that's surely one of the year's most powerful".
It is about escape and how a dreamer takes flight. Most of all, it is about the emptiness and rage of discovering there is nothing to be done when all hope and comfort fails. For all the graphic, often choreographed description, Han Kang has mastered eloquent restraint in a work of savage beauty and unnerving physicality.
In June , Time included the book in its mid-year list of best books of In , the English translated edition of the book won the Man Booker International Prize for fiction, with the judging panel citing it as "unforgettably powerful and original". Commenting on the sales, Kang said, "I am overwhelmed. I had thought the previous 20, copies sold was good enough.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
I feel that Korean literature is starting to become a trend, now is just the beginning. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the film based on this novel, see Vegetarian film. The White Review. Retrieved June 16, Thoughts on Han Kang's Booker victory".
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Korean Literature in Translation. Retrieved June 15, Man Booker Prize. Retrieved 4 June Literary Hub. I'm a person who feels pain when you throw meat on a fire ' ". Korea Herald.
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The Telegraph. Retrieved June 17, Portobella Books. Till the win Han Kang and Deborah Smith were little known in international literary circles. She has said many times on social media since the win that she was translating the book while learning Korean. It was pure luck that this particular book went on to achieve international acclaim. In an interview, Smith explains how, having completed a degree in English literature, she decided to become a translator. It is the first novel she has translated. Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked.
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