BookBrowse Reviews Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

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A Novel

by Mischa Berlinski

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 336 pages
    Jan 2008, 336 pages

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About this Book



A novel about fascination and taboo—scientific, religious, and sexual. 1st Novel

Shortlisted for the 2007 National Book Awards, Berlinsky's excellent first novel is notable on a number of counts. Not only does it provide a wealth of highly readable information about the hilltribes that live in the mountainous area known as the "Golden Triangle" that spans the borders of five South-East Asian countries (see sidebar), but it also provides a study of two other cultural groups that are a mystery to most of us - missionaries and anthropologists!

The protagonist of Berlinski's first book shares the author's name, but Berlinski assures us that the book is fiction - not least because the Dyalo hilltribe, so central to the plot, do not exist. Having said that, Fieldwork started off as Berlinski's attempt to write a nonfiction account of the conversion of many of the Lisu people to ...

*If you're interested in exploring the book's background further, read the interview at BookBrowse and browse the 1982 Time article on missionaries which includes brief information on the Morse family, on which Berlinsky has clearly based his Walker family. You should also read "A Note On The Sources" at the back of the book, and if you really want to dig deep try Googling terms such as "missionaries to the lisu", "james outram fraser" and "isobel and john kuhn"

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 and now lives in Rome where he is currently writing about a woman in Orissa, India who married a snake.

Interesting to Note: Mischa is the son of ...

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