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The Ginseng Hunter: A Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2008
Status:
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Description

A Chinese ginseng hunter lives alone in the valley, where he spends his days preparing for winter. He is scarcely aware of the larger world until shadowy figures, floating bodies, and rumors of murder begin to intrude on his cherished solitude. Then, on a trip to Yanji, he meets a young North Korean prostitute. Through her vivid tales, the tragedy occurring across the river unfolds, and soon the hunter realizes that the fates of the young woman and four others rest in his hands.An unforgettable look at life along the fragile border between China and North Korea, The Ginseng Hunter is a confirmation of Jeff Talarigo's talent for finding humanity in the most unexpected places.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/15/2008
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385525565
ASIN:
B0015DWM98
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jeff Talarigo. (2008). The Ginseng Hunter: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jeff Talarigo. 2008. The Ginseng Hunter: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jeff Talarigo, The Ginseng Hunter: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jeff Talarigo. The Ginseng Hunter: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
3928ebb9-02b7-ea03-6022-bb57cba60855
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:35:59
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 06:25:38
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 12, 2021 21:07:11
Last Metadata Change:
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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      • bioText: JEFF TALARIGO won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award for his widely acclaimed first novel, The Pearl Diver. After living in Japan for almost fourteen years, he, with his wife and son, moved back to the United States in 2006. He was awarded a fellowship at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. The Ginseng Hunter is his second novel.
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2008-04-15T00:00:00-04:00
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title
The Ginseng Hunter
fullDescription

A Chinese ginseng hunter lives alone in the valley, where he spends his days preparing for winter. He is scarcely aware of the larger world until shadowy figures, floating bodies, and rumors of murder begin to intrude on his cherished solitude. Then, on a trip to Yanji, he meets a young North Korean prostitute. Through her vivid tales, the tragedy occurring across the river unfolds, and soon the hunter realizes that the fates of the young woman and four others rest in his hands.An unforgettable look at life along the fragile border between China and North Korea, The Ginseng Hunter is a confirmation of Jeff Talarigo's talent for finding humanity in the most unexpected places.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Sun-Times
      • content: "A psychologically affecting portrait of desire and guilt. . . . A scathing reminder of the perils that communism continues to wreak in pockets across the world."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Free Lance-Star
      • content: "This brave book, written in starkly vivid prose, is timely on several levels. . . . We seldom get a window into North Korean lives. The view is painful, but well worth it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: "Evanescent.... [Shows] the beauty and power of the ginseng root, the respect of the hunter for the thing he hunts."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 1, 2007
        Set on China's fraught, ruggedly beautiful border with North Korea, Talarigo's tense, atmospheric second novel (after The Pearl Diver
        ) movingly dramatizes the human faces behind political oppression. A nameless middle-aged Chinese man—whose mother was Chinese and father was Korean—maintains a quiet, relatively stable life gathering the valuable ginseng root. In strict adherence to family traditions, he takes only a single root a day when he can find them; once a month he stays overnight in the city of Yanji, at Miss Wong's bordello. On one such trip, he spends the night with a young North Korean refugee who tells a harrowing story of oppression. Alternating with her story is the tale of a North Korean mother and young daughter who are forcibly separated during famine; the daughter washes up tragically at the gatherer's door, while the mother might or might not be the refugee prostitute. Talarigo hypnotically weaves the strands of these stories together against a backdrop of stunning scenery and of cruelty, creating a memorable, morally stringent tale.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from October 1, 2007
        Novelists who compose stories involving a culture different from their own normally bring to mind the expression "scratching an itch from outside one's boot." Such is "not" the case with Talarigo ("The Pearl Diver"), who convincingly tells of a ginseng hunter plying his trade in a border town between China and North Korea. The novel moves from an idyllic to an emotional level as this North Korean loner who emigrated to China refuses to help an illegal alien working as a prostitute and then is forced to turn in a little girl who has just escaped from North Korea. Talarigo's characterization of this antihero, who borders on weak-minded and cowardly, is both sensitive and understanding. His descriptive prose is such that readers virtually see the wrinkles of the ginseng root, hear the sparrows' high-pitched call, and taste the cold, running stream. By subtly relating the struggle of plant life on the forest floor to the human struggle at the border, Talarigo offers us a novel that is ultimately a study of survival under hostile conditions. Highly recommended.Victor Or, Vancouver P.L./North Vancouver City Lib., B.C.

        Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from November 15, 2007
        Highly polluted and heavily policed, the Tumen River is an oft-used crossing point for refugees defecting from North Korea to China. Talarigo, author of The Pearl Diver (2004), crafts this harsh reality into a devastating portrait of the little-known lives of North Koreans. In the present time, an isolated Chinese farmer ekes out a solitary existence on the border between China and North Korea, supplementing his meager income with ginseng hunting in the surrounding forests. His self-imposed exile is broken by monthly visits to the town of Yanjai, where he buys provisions and visits the local brothel. It is here that he is introduced to a new prostitute with whom he manages to communicate in Korean, a language learned from his father. Through their initial guarded exchange and as they slowly develop a mutual codependency, we learn of a regime where starvation, torture, and murder are rampant and where propaganda is all consuming. The harrowing indoctrination of the North Korean people and the forced reeducation for those who do not conform underpin the prostitutes narrative. Her chilling account opens the farmers eyes to the begging refugees on the streets, the corpses floating by on the river, and the quickly unfolding drama at his farm. When faced with his own difficult decisions, he begins to understand a little of the fragility of existence and the pain of searching for something that can never materialize. As incendiary as it is restrained, Talarigos spare, evocative story provides a crucial voice to a tyrannized country.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2007, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

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From the Trade Paperback edition.

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A Novel
publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group