The Man Booker International Prize, 2016
A beautiful, unsettling novel in three acts 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, brother-in-law, and sister all 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.
Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman's struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.
"This book is both terrifying and terrific." (Lauren Groff, New York Times best-selling author of Fates and Furies)
"The Vegetarian is one of the best novels I've read in years. It's incredible, daring, and stunningly moving. I loved it." (Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me)
"A complex, terrifying look at how seemingly simple decisions can affect multiple lives.... In a world where women's bodies are constantly under scrutiny, the protagonist's desire to disappear inside of herself feels scarily familiar." (VanityFair.com)
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- J L Pasricha