“It’s hard to believe that in 2016—15 years after Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and a decade since Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, knowing what we know about the ravages of carnivorousness on animals and the environment—so much stereotyping of vegetarianism remains.
Fiction can help us see beyond stereotypes by both reflecting our own lives back at us and inviting us to imagine ourselves in lives decidedly different from our own. I set out to take a look at portrayals of vegetarians in fiction for precisely that reason, and I was surprised by how difficult it was to recall and find notable veg characters. Food plays a defining role in our lives; in fiction, showcasing what characters eat is one way to reveal those characters’ traits to readers. Why there aren’t more memorable characters who follow a vegetarian diet is perplexing, but the books on this (by no means exhaustive) list offer a glance at some nuanced representations of vegetarianism in literature.”