Han, Kang "The Vegetarian" (Korean: 채식주의자/Ch'angbi) - 2007
When I found this book, I thought it might be about a woman who became a vegetarian. And it was. But also, it wasn't. This book has been described as dark and that is correct. But it is also weird. It is hard to follow the thoughts of the protagonists, I always try to empathize with any problem they encounter but I had a hard time doing it in this case.
This story is about two sisters and their husbands, about love and lust. There are three stories about Yeong-hye, the woman who turns vegetarian and whose life takes a strange turn and nobody's life will ever be the same again. The first story is told by her husband, the second by her brother-in-law, the third and last by her sister.
I would have loved to like this book. But I didn't, really.
From the back cover:
"A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul.
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself."
Han Kang received the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 for "The Vegetarian".