Wow. Just wow.
One of the reasons I read is to find windows into other worlds, other cultures. To that end, I try to read a great many diverse books. I like diversity in my writers, my books, my topics, even the location of where my book came from!
I got an ARC of The Vegetarian and sort of put it aside, thinking I had plenty of time. Next thing I knew, it was being released. So, I decided to read it RIGHT THEN! And, I have to say, I wasn't sorry. It's an excellent book.
I went into the book not knowing any plot so I won't belabor you with a lot either, but I want to say a couple of things I really liked about the book. First, it gave me insight into the very restrictive world of South Korea and did so in a way that was, honestly, heartbreaking. I pride myself on my strong will and after reading this book, I'm so grateful to not be in a society that is so restrictive of individuality.
Second, don't go into this book thinking there will be lots about vegetarianism-- there's not. The main character makes that decision and the plot of the novel then follows the ramifications of the choice. Don't think going in that the book will be a rant about how killing animals is wrong or that it's a rant against meat eating, because it really isn't. At all.
There is only one thing keeping me from giving the book five stars. Some of the language of the translation is very clunky. Since it was originally published in Korean I am mindful to not judge TOO harshly on some of the wording which could seem awkward to our Western minds. (For example, it seems odd perhaps that the characters say things like, "Father-in-law, it is good to see you today." Another example is when we have a character who takes care of others and is referred to constantly as a "carer." I'm not sure that's even a word and is certainly not a poetic turn of phrase. Another example is when a character's nipples "quietly harden." I've no clue what that last one means, but it was rather jarring and disrupted an otherwise fine passage.
Small quibbles, though! Most of the book is well written and the story is heartbreaking. The Vegetarian broke my heart like I think most people's hearts were broken over A Little Life (which, frankly, I hated). I recommend the book highly!