27 July, 2021

In The Cutting Room

A brilliant novel has a three-pronged approach to terrifying madness

In The Cutting Room

The only memories I have of Korea are indistinct. I went only once, and was mostly in hotels. I spent three days almost entirely on a diet of beef, not because I hate cows, but because that was all they seemed to eat there. Or maybe my companions were extremely fond of beef. Either way, it seems fitting that the first Korean book I’ve ever read would be titled The Vegetarian. There is nothing particularly Korean about this book, one could say. No pungent ethnicities or cute ways of speaking are on display. It’s just a brilliant book, and the deserving winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. Han Kang is an author with extreme skills. She tells her story well. She keeps her focus laser-sharp on the hearts of her humans. She evokes atmosphere, time and place quite effortlessly. Like all the best books, this one is hard to classify. But I read it as a horror story. The kind of horror that nestles up to you on the sofa, all warm and cuddly and fuzzy, and then sneaks its fangs in when you least expect it.

Han is an author of some repute in Korea....

In this article:

More from Shovon Chowdhury

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section