The Wire | The Vegetarian
Excerpt from Han Kang's highly praised novel, The Vegetarian (translated from Korean by Deborah Smith):
I don't know why that woman is crying. I don't know why she keeps staring at my face, either, as though she wants to swallow it. Or why she strokes the bandage on my wrist with her trembling hands.
My wrist is okay. It doesn't bother me. The thing that hurst is my chest. Something is stuck in my solar plexus. I don't know what it might be. It's lodged there permanently these days. Even though I've stopped wearing a bra, I can feel this lump all the time. No matter how deeply I inhale, it doesn't go away.
Yells and howls, threaded together layer upon layer, are enmeshed to form that lump. Because of meat. I ate too much meat. The lives of the animals I ate have all lodged there. Blood and flesh, all those butchered bodies are scattered in every nook and cranny, and though the physical remnants were excreted, their lives still stick stubbornly to my insides.
One time, just more time, I want to shout. I want to throw myself through the pitch-black window. Maybe that would finally get this lump out of my body. Yes, perhaps that might work.
Nobody can help me. Nobody can save me. Nobody can make me breathe.