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Fieldwork

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Fieldwork.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Mischa Berlinski(Author)

    Book details


When his girlfriend takes a job in Thailand, Mischa goes along for the ride, planning only to enjoy himself as much as possible. But when he hears about the suicide of a young woman, Martiya van der Leun, in the Thai prison where she was serving a life sentence for murder, what begins as mild curiosity becomes an obsession. It is clear that Martiya was guilty, but what was it that led her to kill?

"'This is storytelling of the highest quality: richly entertaining, intelligent and anchored in a deep sense of humanity.' Tash Aw, Guardian 'Such an addictive page-turner that I nearly missed my stop on the bus... Mischa builds a picture of [Martina's] life, layer by fascinating layer.' The Times 'Lush in its landscapes, dense in its ideas, always startlingly nimble and witty, this Thailand-set first novel performs some strange upcountry magic of its own. Somehow, it transforms the anguish of expat anthropologists into a cracking adventure... Berlinksi never stints on the ethnographic back-story - a risk in clumsier hands, but an enrichment in such zestful company.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent 'Riveting' Financial Times 'A rare few [books] are so exceptionally good you deliberately read them slowly, deliberately put them down to prolong the pleasure of picking them up again later. For me, Fieldwork comes into this last category.' Oxford Times 'A killer novel... A great story... You can't stop reading.' Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly 'Gripping and entertaining... Exuberant and inventive.' Hilary Mantel, New York Review of Books"

4.3 (8036)
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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Mischa Berlinski(Author)
  • Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Jun. 2009)
  • English
  • 7
  • Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

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Review Text

  • By Phileas Fogg on 24 May 2017

    Quick, great condition, real bargain, exciting read

  • By camac on 12 May 2017

    Interesting - a book set in Thailand dealing with missionaries and anthropologists. That’s how it seemed. But…I didn’t read the author’s notes until the end, when I learned he made up the tribal people he described in such detail. The highlands which run through northern Thailand, Burma, China, Tibet and onwards are home to numerous tribes. Would it have been so difficult to bring one of them to life?The missionaries were unbelievable. We are still people with human virtues, failings, desires whether we try to proselytise our beliefs widely or not. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible has the feel of reality to it whereas our wonderful Walkers and their angel-attuned ears do not.A lot was made of Martiya’s ‘curiosity’ which began to burn and drive her to the point of insanity. As an anthropologist she began her fieldwork stunningly bored by the Dyalo people she studied, but persisted until finally set alight. Her slow fall into burning curiosity was compared with Malinowski’s earlier experience.Although what Berlinski wrote about her possible anthropological studies was well done, it was done in such a way as to leave me fully aware of a novelist writing a novel, rather than allowing me to live Martiya’s experiences. He - for Berlinski is in his own novel as the investigator - sought information about Martiya through interviews and letters as Martiya herself is dead by the time he begins the investigation. And we are meant to believe that via this route we can know the weather conditions, the conversations she held with the tribal people, her own thoughts and feelings. It would have been far more believable if the author had left allowed Martiya to remain alive in her prison cell and to gradually tell her own story - coaxed from her by Berlinski bit by bit as he expanded his knowledge of her via those interviews and letters. Most of the dramatic story and its dramatic conclusion was told by Martiya’s guide/translator who visited her in prison some years before Berlinski turned up. So what we’re hearing is third hand and yet so unbelievably detailed.But the biggest BUT is the lack of a political context in this book. Martiya was in northern Thailand highlands during and after the Vietnam war. We hear nothing of the refugees which must have been fleeing from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. That part of the world is known as a refuge in painful times. We hear nothing of what the missionaries thought of their fellow Christians committing genocide nextdoor. We hear nothing of how the CIA and military organisations might have sought to use Americans who were familiar with local people and languages, and we hear nothing of how all this affected the tribal people.This could have been a really interesting book, if only…

  • By JoV on 3 June 2008

    I picked up this book because it was about Thailand and the hill tribes. I had wandered as far as Chiang Mai and had always inspired to go beyond the city to the mountains to visit the tribes. I love books which relate two (or three) unseemingly disjointed subjects and concocted them into a juicy, suspense story. What has Anthropology got to do with Christian missionaries? The answer is : A lot! The chapters are segmented into both point of views of the anthropologist and the family of missionaries, without losing sight of leading the readers towards a credible conclusion, every findings is a step closer to why the anthropologist did what she did. Sad, tragic, insightful, hilarious ... all rolled into one. This book is brilliant. If you are tired of trashy, time wasters novels in the market, try reading "fieldwork", the short title may not conjure much imagination, but you will come out both more informed (a book with wealth of research information) and gratified (suspense novel with mystery and family saga). Thumbs up, can't wait to read what Mischa has to write in the future.


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