Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
A Novel

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Synopsis

A daring, spellbinding tale of anthropologists, missionaries, demon possession, sexual taboos, murder, and an obsessed young reporter named Mischa Berlinski

When his girlfriend takes a job as a schoolteacher in northern Thailand, Mischa Berlinski goes along for the ride, working as little as possible for one of Thailand’s English-language newspapers. One evening a fellow expatriate tips him off to a story. A charismatic American anthropologist, Martiya van der Leun, has been found dead—a suicide—in the Thai prison where she was serving a fifty-year sentence for murder.

Motivated first by simple curiosity, then by deeper and more mysterious feelings, Mischa searches relentlessly to discover the details of Martiya’s crime. His search leads him to the origins of modern anthropology—and into the family history of Martiya’s victim, a brilliant young missionary whose grandparents left Oklahoma to preach the Word in the 1920s and never went back. Finally, Mischa’s obssession takes him into the world of the Thai hill tribes, whose way of life becomes a battleground for two competing, and utterly American, ways of looking at the world.

Vivid, passionate, funny, deeply researched, and page-turningly plotted, Fieldwork is a novel about fascination and taboo—scientific, religious, and sexual. It announces an assured and captivating new voice in American fiction. Fieldwork is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
 

About Mischa Berlinski

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Mischa Berlinski was born in New York in 1973. He studied classics at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia College and has worked as a journalist in Thailand. "Fieldwork "is his first novel.
 
Published February 6, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 356 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fieldwork

The Guardian

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Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Mischa Berlinski's debut novel hinges on the ill-starred meeting of a ...

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

The Guardian

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Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop American anthropologist Martiya van der Leun had lived for years among ...

Jun 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Fieldwork, Mischa Berlinski's first novel, begins when an American anthropologist convicted of murdering a young missionary in Thailand kills herself while serving a life sentence in prison.

Mar 16 2007 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Deseret News

Mischa Berlinski's first novel, "Fieldwork," is about people who work in exotic fields.

Feb 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Nights and Weekends

Mr. Berlinski did such a good job bringing this story to life that I actually thought I was reading a true documentary about a somewhat uncivilized tribe and the anthropologist studying them.

| Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Tim Rutten Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars "Chock-a-block with such un-trendy ingredients as an unintrusive narrator, global reach and a big cast of memorable characters, Fieldwork is both wildly readable and highly intelligent."

Jan 31 2008 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Open Salon

As part of my job with a Burmese non-profit, I have made several trips to Chiangmai, Thailand, where Berlinski’s story of an anthropologist, Martiya van der Leun, who goes native, but goes a little too far, is set.

Sep 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

The Jewish Chronicle

The narrator, also called Mischa Berlinski, is a young Jewish-American journalist, who has followed his girlfriend to Thailand.

Aug 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

The Paris Review

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain: Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;

Feb 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Fieldwork: A Novel

Reader Rating for Fieldwork
78%

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