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Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

Fieldwork (2007)

by Mischa Berlinski

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Mischa is a travel writer living in Thailand with his wife when he learns of MArtiya, this American woman (a doctoral student in anthropology at UC Berkeley), in a Thai prison who's been convicted of killing the son of American missionaries who are intent on bringing Christianity to the Danyo tribe (who Martiya is studying) Mischa then proceeds to find out what happened. Why would an American be allowed to remain in a Thai prison (where she commits suicide after publishing two studies)? What exactly happened?
The story is told from various perspectives? How does everything flow together? This story is so easy to just get lost in. If you ever thought that travelling to foreign places and finding out just how those people lived, this book is for you. It helps that the author is talking to Christian Missionaries, and frankly, I think Christian missionaries are a pretty odd sect of people, too. Really a fascinating story. ( )
  minxcr1964 | Mar 24, 2016 |
My favorite book of 2008. Fascinating perspectives told from 3 points of view. Cannot recommend it high enough ( )
  ellenuw | Jan 27, 2016 |
A wonderful book despite its flaws, this book started out as non-fiction. The author was not able to find anyone who would publish an anthropoligical examination of missionary work with the hill tribes in Thailand. When the pagan tribes start converting, we see the resulting disintegration of a truly unique way of life. Shares many themes with Shusaku Endo's 1996 novel _Silence_. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
What a brilliant read. It is wonderful to see fiction that admits its debt to the anthropological memoir, a genre of literature that would not exist but for human curiosity. Although this is overtly a work of fiction all its nuances felt right and the story, well the story infected me just as well as any flu bug that I can recall. Highly recommended. Read it on a sofa while shutting off the real world as much as is possible. And take joy from it where you can...I know I found plenty. ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Apr 24, 2015 |
Tx Natalie for clearly & charmingly summarizing lots of perspectives so it was easy for me to file this book on my shelves.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Fieldwork is a clever book, chock-full of David Foster Wallace–esque footnotes and moments of direct address. The arc of the story is interrupted by a variety of informants: Martiya’s roommate from Berkeley; Martiya’s advisor/lover (who once arrived at his cultural anthropology class “wearing nothing but a handsome, three-foot-long embroidered penis sheath”); Martiya herself, in letters. There is pleasure in piecing these bits together, but we occasionally lose sight of Mischa, despite his self-referential devices.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427468, Paperback)

When his girlfriend takes a job in Thailand, Mischa Berlinski goes along for the ride, planning to enjoy himself and work as little as possible. But 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 life sentence for murder. Curious at first, Mischa is soon immersed in the details of her story. This brilliant, haunting novel expands into a mystery set among the Thai hill tribes, whose way of life became a battleground for the missionaries and the scientists living among them.

Fieldwork is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Vivid, passionate, funny, deeply researched, and page-turningly plotted, this novel--set in northern Thailand--is a daring, spellbinding tale of anthropologists, missionaries, demon possession, sexual taboos, murder, and an obsessed young reporter named Mischa Berlinski.… (more)

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