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. He lives in Rome.
This biography was last updated on 08/11/2011.
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An Interview with Mischa Berlinski
Your new novel tells the story of a confrontation between an anthropologist and a family of missionaries working with one of the tribal peoples of northern Thailand. Let's start with missionaries. How did you get interested in them?
I was hanging out on the beach in southern India, at one of those places where people go who have much more time than money, which was certainly my case, when I met a pair of very unusual brothers. They were Americans, and very, very scruffy, with long hair and beards. They were making a living as hashish smugglers, and I got along with them splendidly. The older one was maybe twenty-five and the younger one twenty-two. They had a very unusual background: it turned out that they were children of a family of missionaries living in Japan; had grown up in Japan; and spoke native Japanese. (This, by the way, was how they were making a living as hashish smugglers; they said that the customs officials in Japan were so shocked to be addressed in fluent, idiomatic, perfectly polite Japanese by a pair of big-nosed foreigners with long hair that they never even considered opening their luggage. But I'm digressing.) They were estranged from their parents, but from the way ...
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