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Extended Audio Sample The Ginseng Hunter, by Jeff Talarigo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (413 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeff Talarigo Narrator: Jaeson Ma Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 follows the daily life of a Chinese ginseng hunter, who lives alone in the valley, spending his days up in the mountains looking for ginseng and preparing for winter. He is little aware of the world outside 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 fate of the young woman and those of four others rest in his hands. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The beauty and power of the ginseng root; the respect of the hunter for the thing he hunts—all this lies in such sharp contrast to the wasted life and utter lack of humanity elsewhere on these pages.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Talarigo is well on his way toward establishing himself as a quiet witness to humanity…An expert at luring us out of our comfort zones to bear witness with him, he also gives us quiet heroes who do not give in, who do not give up. What we ultimately choose to do with both the devastation and the hope that we witness is up to us.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Talarigo’s tense, atmospheric second novel movingly dramatizes the human faces behind political oppression…Against a backdrop of stunning scenery and of cruelty, creating a memorable, morally stringent tale.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “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.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Kim | 2/4/2014

    " This book was just depressing. It's about a Chinese ginseng hunter who lived on the border of China and North Korea. He witnesses some North Koreans sneaking into China and also encounters a North Korean prostitute. However, I didn't like the way Jeff Talarigo told the story -- it was very confusing to me. It was also difficult to relate to ANY of the characters in any way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 1/27/2014

    " This book is like a haiku. Simple and brilliant, with an ending that changes one's perspective on the work as a whole. No review can really do justice to Talarigo's tale of a ginseng hunter on the border between North Korea and China at the turn of the twenty-first century better than the book itself. A story to be savored. And other such-like hyperbole. Read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jen | 1/16/2014

    " This book is short (176 pgs)and an easy read. It is always eye-opening to me to read about other cultures and their hardships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kristin | 1/10/2014

    " A beautiful, powerful and sad story. While you read the book you feel the Ginseng Hunter's solitude, and understand his oneness with nature. The pain of the woman whose company he seeks when he goes to sell his Ginseng is equally felt. It is a beautifully satisfying read. "

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About the Author

Jeff Talarigo received the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rosenthal Award for The Pearl Diver. He is currently a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Centre for Scholars and Writers and lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Jaeson Ma is the son of two immigrant parents from China. A classically trained, New York-based theater actor who has appeared on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in numerous regional theaters, he has done extensive work in voice-over, specializing in Asian accents. He has provided voices for Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese subjects for such shows as ABC News, Primetime Live, and 20/20.