The Ginseng Hunter
By Jeff Talarigo
(Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, 9780385517393, 192pp.)
Publication Date: April 15, 2008
List Price: $21.95*
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Set at the turn of the twenty-first century in China along the Tumen River, which separates northeast China and North Korea, The Ginseng Hunter is an unforgettable portrait of life along a fragile border.
A Chinese ginseng hunter lives alone in the valley and spends his days up in the mountains looking for ginseng and preparing for winter. He is scarcely aware of the larger world until shadowy figures hiding in the fields, bodies floating in the river, and rumors of thievery and murder begin to intrude on his cherished solitude. On one of his monthly trips to Yanji, where he buys supplies and visits a brothel, he meets a young North Korean prostitute. Through her vivid tales, the tragedy occurring across the river unfolds, and over the course of the year the hunter unnervingly discovers that the fates of the young woman and four others rest in his hands.
Spare, intimate, and strikingly atmospheric, The Ginseng Hunter takes us into the little-understood lives of North Koreans and confirms Jeff Talarigo's immense gift for storytelling.
The Ginseng Hunter is based on actual events that are happening today in North Korea, also known as the DPRK, and along the Northeast border of China, to where many North Korean refugees flee.
In response to this humanitarian crisis, Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK, an international NGO, maintains programs in refugee protection and resettlement, leadership development for North Korean defectors, advocacy to stakeholders in the North Korean crisis, and the empowerment of citizens to make a difference with effective action. To learn more, please visit www.LiNKglobal.org .
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.