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Fieldwork: A Novel [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Mischa Berlinski , William Dufris
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.11
Price: 18.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Feb 2007
This is a daring and spellbinding first novel of anthropologists, missionaries, demon possession, sexual taboos, murder, and an obsessed young reporter. 'This is a great story...You can't stop reading until midnight (good), and you don't hate yourself in the morning (better).' - Stephen King.When his girlfriend takes a job in northern Thailand, Mischa goes along for the ride, finding work as a freelance reporter for an English-language newspaper. One drunken evening a fellow expat tips him off to a story. A charismatic American anthropologist serving a life sentence for murder, Martiya van der Leun, has been found dead in her prison cell - she has committed suicide. What begins as mild curiosity in the case rapidly becomes an obsession, as Mischa seeks to reconstruct the details of Martiya's life - and death.His search draws him deep into her world. He interviews her colleagues, seeks out the family of her victim, and eventually travels into the Thai hills, into the world of the remote Dyalo tribe who Martiya studied and lived among. What he uncovers is a tragic love story - of a woman who fell in love with the field and then, much later and with fatal consequences, fell in love with one of her subjects.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (20 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400153646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400153640
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 14 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A top-notch debut novel... A reader doesn't have to have any interest in Christian missionary work, anthropology, or the hill tribes of Thailand to be riveted, but odds are you'll have a greater appreciation for all three - not to mention Berlinski's storytelling - by the time you put Fieldwork down. Grade A.
-- Christian Science Monitor

An impressive feat of literary acrobatics... This sad and powerful tale is an inspired and courageous book. -- San Fransisco Chronicle

Gripping and know you're in the hands of a writer to whom the novel form is, when all's said, as natural as an old overcoat... A quirky, often brilliant debut, bounced along by limitless energy -- New York Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mischa Berlinski was born in New York in 1973. He studied classics at the University of California at Berkeley and at Columbia University. He has worked as a journalist in Thailand. Visit his website at --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cliffhanger 3 Jun 2008
By JoV
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rice 21 April 2011
By Dr. Robert A. Josey VINE VOICE
I can see why Hilary Mantel and Stephen King rate this book so highly. (Though - like many good novels - it was not what I at first expected it to be.)

I have just read an original review copy from 2008 - and the first impression I got was of a supernatural/horror thriller set in Thailand.

The first few chapters seemed to compound that premise - a murder mystery; hints of 'jungle terrors'; a bemused journalist as the central protagonist, becoming obsessed by a sinister story.

But as the book 'unfolded' - an apt description for its many layers - I realised 'Fieldwork' was a much deeper/richer novel than I had anticipated.

Mischa Berlinski (the main character shares the same name) goes deep into the heart of Anthropology itself. As a Science and also as an instrument of personal change.

Also, it is a brave author who enters so fully into the world of Evangelical Christian missionaries, and makes them so sympathetic and very human. (At times I felt I was reading a slightly-trippy biography of Gladys Alward.)

But as the book progressed I became more and more fascinated by the journey the author leads us on. The layers of story begin to take elusive shape, then shift into mountain mist, to take shape again.

By the end I saw that there was a real structure here - the story loops into a tragic but unavoidable conclusion. 'Fieldwork' is definitely one of those rare books which benefit from a re-reading.

There are many treasures hidden within its pages/chapters - insights, ideas and revelations (within the realms of the Natural and Supernatural worlds). It is certainly - by itself - an excellent introduction to the intricacies, problems and subtleties of Anthropology.

It is quite an achievement for a first time writer to juggle all these elements of plot, character and academic substance into a satisfying and successfully original novel. (Original it certainly is.)
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The American journalist Mischa Berlinski is the narrator in this novel, so at times one feels it might be an autobiography, especially as in an autobiography you might find the rambling structure you find in this book; and a number of footnotes contribute to that impression. But in a note at the end the author tells us that `none of this stuff happened to anyone'.

The thread that holds the book together is the fictional Berlinski's obsessive attempt to unravel the mystery of Martiya van der Leun, an American-educated anthropologist whom he had heard about but never met, who had been working with the animist Dyalo hill tribe in Northern Thailand, had been in prison for murder and had apparently committed suicide there.

(If you google Dyalo, the references are all to this novel. Its name is invented, but the author's note suggests that the inspiration for it might be a tribe called the Lisu. The other neighbouring tribes mentioned in the book all really exist.)

The fictional Berlinski goes to meet as many people as possible who knew Martiya; and he then gives you such long and detailed histories of their lives that we quite forget about Martiya: at one stage there is no mention of her for some ninety pages.

The person she was accused of having murdered was one David Walker. We learn more and more about Martiya's life - and very interesting it is - without getting any clues, until very near the end, to the mystery of why she killed David. In fact the first meeting between Martiya and David comes just seventeen pages before the conclusion of the book.

David belonged to an extended American family, several of whom were or had been Christian missionaries.
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