Before breaking the spine on this little beauty, prepare to feel all the feels.
When the members of my London-based book club cast their votes on this, the Man Booker International Prize winner for 2016, my initial thoughts were: ‘I’m a vegetarian, so I’ll probably be into this.’ But this is no Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer; instead, The Vegetarian is an intense South Korean-set novella that will likely preoccupy your mind for months after you’ve managed to put it down.
To your quintessential bookish square, Yeong-hye’s trajectory, at times, feels almost perverse. (Imagine an 18+ R-rated Murakami novel.) You might even find yourself questioning why you’ve become so addicted to the story of this woman whose extreme case of biophilia leads to some interesting behaviours. But, call me voyeuristic, I couldn’t avert my eyes from the events that unfold. I’m not a speedy reader, and yet I’d devoured this one within all of three days (taking nine hours out each day to do my job). One thing’s for certain: at the end of this book you’ll be pondering the fragility of human sanity.
[Portobello Books, 2015]