Chrissie's Reviews > Fieldwork

Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: mystery, thailand, kirkus, anthropology, audible, 2012challenge
Read from March 14 to 16, 2012

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading this book simply because it was funny. It is NOT so much about Thai culture as about an anthropological study of Christian missionaries who finally ended up in Thailand. I NEVER would have chosen this book had I know this. It also looks at the 70s in the USA. The hippies epoch, the music of those times, the Grateful Dead. Remember them?

Neither did I appreciate that the author placed himself in the novel. This seemed like a gimmick.

So I feel tricked, but yes, it was funny. An enjoyable light read..... when I wasn't getting smothered by Christian evangelism. You see, I can't quite make up my mind what I think.

Oh, and the murder mystery? It kind of fizzles out.

I am only giving this three stars since I laughed quite a bit. Otherwise it would get only two.


Here is what I thought when I began the book:

The last two books(The Twentieth Wife and The Orphan Master's Son)I have read have largely disappointed me.I feel desperate at this point. With this novel I am pleased right from the start. It is funny. Every line is imbued with humor. No, not all, but many. I am a nut in needing to understand what is going on. For this reason I often reread or re-listen to the beginning of books numerous times so I am sure I know who is who and what has occurred in the recent past and where the events are taking place. This can prove boring if one has to repeat several times the reading process – but not with this book since the lines are so amusing. Even on the third read I smile at the author’s choice of words. I smile at the inflection of the narrator’s voice in this audiobook. What makes or destroys a book is every little sentence – not the total plot denouement of a book.

It seems that this book is about a woman in her fifties who is in a Thai prison located in Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand. She was of Dutch and Malaysian background but had lived her first six years in a small village of the southern Kalawi region on the Indonesian island Celebes. She had been accused of murder and then she too is found dead. Suicide or was this murder also? I have no idea since the book has just begun………but I certainly am curious and want to know and enjoy every line as I begin the search for understanding.

ETA: Remember! I was tricked!

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