Amazon

Readers' Favorite

September 28, 2018

Ginseng Tango by Cheryl Pallant ~ a Review

by MK French

How it begins...

Two western colleagues and the department chair pick me up from the airport and drive me to my university apartment. The space, much smaller than my house in Richmond, is three pyeong large, a dorm-like 350 or square feet, with kitchen area, desk, wardrobe, bed, and night stand. The floor is heated Korean style, an ondol, something to look forward to when the weather cools or I need to dry clothes. The bathroom converts into a shower with the press of a button, a nozzle hanging from the wall near the sink. Through the sliding glass doors near my bed is a view of an angled, red tiled roof and an easily climbable railing for getting to a large flat roof which I anticipate using to extend my small deck. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.


Ginseng Tango
Sept. 2017; Big Table Publishing Company
978-1945917141; ebook, print (216 pages)
memoir
Cheryl Pallant is an English teacher that decided to leave the United States to teach in South Korea after her marriage fell apart. This memoir, told as a series of vignettes, unfolds slowly. It begins with the circumstances leading her to accept the position, then moves to the troubles in getting to South Korea, and then her experiences teaching and living there. She comes from a background of dance, language, Buddhism, meditation, and spirituality. This and her open, inquisitive nature allows her to bond with most of the people she interacts with regularly. She learns about the culture, paternalistic and strongly Confucian even as they are trying to Westernize, and in turn learns about herself as well.

Memoirs are as good as the experiences recounted and the style that it is presented in. Interesting lives can be made boring and almost irrelevant if there's no skill in conveying the experiences lived. Cheryl Pallant is a writing professor in Virginia, which means that her observations are elegantly conveyed here. The culture in Daegu is outlined piece by piece so that we absorb the detailed nuances as she did. It's like we're living through the experiences ourselves, which is a feat not all travel memoirs are able to do well.

I decided to read this book because I've never been to South Korea and thought this might be a way to learn a little more about it without any propaganda attached. There are certainly differences between our countries, but some things are very similar. The people that Cheryl meets and talks with are open to telling her their stories, and in the middle of them, all is the same sense of longing to be someone of worth and remembrance, to feel a purpose in life and a sense of completion. This is a desire that all people feel, no matter what country or culture they come from, and it really helps me connect with them as much as with Cheryl.

Buy Ginseng Tango at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Linking to Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

19 comments:

  1. Haven't heard about this book, and I do like the setting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a really fascinating look into the city where she was living for the year.

      Delete
  2. To be honest, I am not much of a memoir or biography reader. However there are still many interesting premises to discover in the genre and this definitely sounds like one of them.

    Here in the UK, Korea never really hit the headlines until the recent talks with the USA made all the news channels.

    There has been a short televised series about North Korea since those talks, but the South still remains something of a closed book.

    I'm not promising to read 'Ginseng Tango', but it is an interesting story and the cover art is certainly intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend :)

    Yvonne
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not usually reading memoirs either, but the location was what was drew me in to reading this one. It's a very easy read, and I found myself drawn into it and the stories of all the people around Cheryl.

      Delete
  3. Sounds interesting...thanks for sharing. I don't read memoirs, though, so I hope you enjoy it.

    Thanks for coming by my blog, Donna.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't usually read memoirs either, but the location was fascinating.

      Delete
  4. This sounds like a really interesting read. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely very fascinating to peek into the culture.

      Delete
  5. This sounds like an interesting book. Enjoy your current read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely interesting and fun to read.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like an interesting book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never heard of this book, but it does sound really interesting. I hope you enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is a great look into the culture and day to day life.

      Delete
  8. This does sound like a very engaging memoir. I will have to give it a try myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure Cheryl would be great fun to talk to if I ever got a chance to meet her.

      Delete
  9. Since I like both memoirs and books with interesting settings, this sounds wonderful to me. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great look into the culture, and Cheryl is a great storyteller.

      Delete
  10. MK, French, Thanks for your positive review. It's good to know the book as intended is reaching readers. Chatting some time is welcome.

    ReplyDelete

Shareahollic

Amazon Studio

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...