The Vegetarian

The Vegetarian (Chaesikju-uija), by Han Kang, is a South Korean novel which won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.  It is a short novel about a young woman Yeong-Hye, who after a strange dream, suddenly decides to become a vegetarian.  The novel is divided into three parts, each focusing on a different character.  The first part, “The…

On Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan novels never fail to engage me, whether it’s over a 500 pages, or just under 200.  The same can be said about his 2007 novella, On Chesil Beach, about the ill-fated wedding night of a young couple, Edward and Florence. Florence is a talented violinist, and Edward, a young historian, and as the…

Back to the Classics Challenge: Anna Karenina

What can I say about Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina that hasn’t already been said by one reader or another?  It’s a long, complex, bittersweet novel about the lives of aristocratic families in Russia in the late 1800’s, summed up nicely in its famous opening lines:  “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy…

The Sellout

I just finished reading Paul Beatty‘s The Sellout, the Man Booker Prize winner of 2016.  It’s a short, strange, witty novel that, though seemingly humorous, tackles very serious social and cultural issues. The novel starts with the protagonist, a first name-less African-American Mr. Me, high on his homegrown marijuana at the Supreme Court of the…

The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway‘s The Sun Also Rises is one of his most well-known, and well-loved novels.  Published in 1926, it is said to depict the life, ideals, and frustrations of the “Lost Generation” – intellectual young men and women enlightened during the years after World War I.  Hemingway himself was one of the “founding” members of…

When We Were Orphans

I’ve only read 3 Kazuo Ishiguro novels so far, all of which fall under different genres; the first one I read was his 2005 science-fiction novel, Never Let Me Go, followed  (many years later) by his Booker Prize-winning 1989 novel, The Remains of the Day, which is a Victorian / historical fiction, and just recently I…

The Ghost Bride

In my review of Uprooted, I mentioned that I had learned about it from a list I stumbled upon about standalone novels for those who enjoy reading fantasy.  That’s also where I learned about Yangsze Choo’s 2013 novel, The Ghost Bride. The Ghost Bride is a novel about an ancient Chinese practice of marrying off the…

The Woman in the Dunes

I’ve read a few novels written by Japanese writers, and though most of them were pretty strange, Kobo Abe‘s The Woman in the Dunes really takes the cake! Published in 1962, The Woman in the Dunes, or Suna no Onna (Sand Woman) in Japanese, tells the strange and horrifying tale of a man who goes…

Smaller and Smaller Circles

When the body of an adolescent boy was found, eviscerated, with heart and penis cut off, and face skinned off at a city landfill in Manila, it seemed like just another unfortunate, though brutal crime.  But when bodies sharing the same traits and markings start showing up every month at the landfill, the head of…