The Vegetarian: A Novel

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Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Publisher's Weekly •  Buzzfeed •  Entertainment Weekly •  Time •  Wall Street Journal •  Bustle •  Elle •  The Economist •  Slate •  The Huffington Post • The St. Louis Dispatch •  Electric Literature

Featured in the New York Times selection of "15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century" 

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.
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.
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About the author

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as novelist in 1994. A participant of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Literary Prize. She currently works as a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

From the Hardcover edition.
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21 total

Additional Information

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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Fiction / Cultural Heritage
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Psychological
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the Nobel Prize winner and best-selling author of Snow and My Name Is Red: a soaring, panoramic new novel—his first since The Museum of Innocence—telling the unforgettable tale of an Istanbul street vendor and the love of his life.

Since his boyhood in a poor village in Central Anatolia, Mevlut Karataş has fantasized about what his life would become. Not getting as far in school as he’d hoped, at the age of twelve he comes to Istanbul—“the center of the world”—and is immediately enthralled by both the old city that is disappearing and the new one that is fast being built. He follows his father’s trade, selling boza (a traditional mildly alcoholic Turkish drink) on the street, and hoping to become rich, like other villagers who have settled the desolate hills outside the booming metropolis. But luck never seems to be on Mevlut’s side. As he watches his relations settle down and make their fortunes, he spends three years writing love letters to a girl he saw just once at a wedding, only to elope by mistake with her sister. And though he grows to cherish his wife and the family they have, he stumbles toward middle age in a series of jobs leading nowhere. His sense of missing something leads him sometimes to the politics of his friends and intermittently to the teachings of a charismatic religious guide. But every evening, without fail, Mevlut still wanders the streets of Istanbul, selling boza and wondering at the “strangeness” in his mind, the sensation that makes him feel different from everyone else, until fortune conspires once more to let him understand at last what it is he has always yearned for.

Told from different perspectives by a host of beguiling characters, A Strangeness in My Mind is a modern epic of coming of age in a great city, a brilliant tableau of life among the newcomers who have changed the face of Istanbul over the past fifty years. Here is a mesmerizing story of human longing, sure to take its place among Pamuk’s finest achievements.


Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
"Levande och döda" börjar med ett stort antal mänskliga kroppar uppradade längs väggen i en gympasal. Det stinker i värmen, uppsvällda tår sticker ut under lakanen »som tjocka stumpar ingefära«. Det är 1980, platsen är Kwangju i Sydkorea. Hundratals studenter som protesterat mot regimen har just mördats av militären i en massaker. I massan av dödade unga människor vandrar en pojke, Dong-ho, omkring. Han letar efter sin vän. När han hittar honom, kommer han då att vara levande eller död? Och vad händer med själen hos den kropp som slutar leva?

I en serie länkade episoder som rör sig från 1980 fram till vår tid, gör berättaren nedslag i ett samhälle präglat av censur och skräckfylld tystnad. Samtidigt finns hela tiden en mäktig drivkraft att minnas, berätta och ge mänskligheten tillbaka till dem som berövats den.

Med "Levande och döda" introduceras den mångfaldigt prisbelönta Han Kang på svenska. Hennes roman är ett stilistiskt mästerverk vars klara skönhet kontrasterar mot den brutala materian. Liksom en Primo Levi eller en Solsjenitsyn, tar hon sig an den stora och svåra frågan om människors handlingar, deras potential för grymhet och ömhet.

Han Kang är född i Kwangju, Sydkorea och flyttade till Seoul vid tio års ålder. Fyra månader senare inträffade i hennes forna hemstad den massaker som "Levande och döda" behandlar. Hon debuterade som författare 1993. 2007 kom "Vegetarianen", den kortroman som blev hennes genombrott utanför Sydkorea och som i skrivande stund är nominerad till det internationella Bookerpriset. Den utkommer på svenska våren 2017.

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