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Fieldwork
by Mischa Berlinski

Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
 
 
 
Overview

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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780312427467
  • ISBN-10: 0312427468
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: January 2008
  • Page Count: 356


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Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Fieldwork

Set in Thailand, this suspenseful thriller features a fictional young journalist named—like the book's author—Mischa Berlinski, who finds himself at the center of a mystery involving the death of an American anthropologist. Mischa comes to Thailand to join his girlfriend, Rachel, a schoolteacher. A seasoned freelance writer, he's initially excited by the prospect of investigating the anthropologist's story, but soon learns there's more to the incident than meets the eye. The anthropologist, a woman named Martiya van der Leun, was serving a 50-year prison sentence for murder when she took her own life in her jail cell. An outgoing Berkeley graduate, Martiya had been convicted of killing a missionary. Mischa delves into Martiya's past, only to become obsessed with her. Martiya's story leads him into an exploration of native Thai culture and the effects upon it of both missionaries and anthropologists—groups with different and often conflicting agendas. The author, who worked as a journalist in Thailand, writes with wonderful command about the country and its customs. He uses different types of fieldwork, both religious and scientific, to build a thematic foundation that is rich, complex and satisfying. A 2007 National Book Award finalist, this riveting novel is Berlinski's first—an accomplished narrative that has established him as a gifted new writer.

A reading group guide is included in the book.

 
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