This lyrical novel sweeps listeners away to an ignoble period from Japanese history, when lives were shattered by intolerance - and for one group of societal outcasts, survival hinged on the determination of the human spirit. In 1948, a 19-year-old pearl diver with leprosy is forced to erase her name from family records and move to an island leprosarium. Mere miles from the home she can never return to, she must accept that her life will never be the same.
Set at the turn of the 21st 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.