I was intrigued firstly by this book winning the Man Booker Prize for 2016 but it was mainly the title. Coming from a country where being vegetarian was quite commonplace it was puzzling how this could be the reason for so much dissension and conflict!
Set in South Korea Yeong-hye is a very average wife and housewife. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. She suddenly starts having violent dreams and decides to stop eating meat. This brings her to an extraordinary physical state of being weak and malnourished and also creates a lot of confusion and conflict within her own family. The story begins from there and leads to a complete breakdown in not just her but the entire family unit.
The conflict is between one of personal choices and what society expects of one and how the two have to be reconciled and the result of what happens when it does not. The unravelling of Yeong- hye told in three parts is disturbing but not unrealistic. For me it was rather a slow read because I wanted to understand what was going on here and in certain sections it was rather difficult for me to do so.