Books Stephen King Recommends discussion

Fieldwork
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Oct-Nov 2011 Group Read > Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski General Discussion

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Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Fieldwork byMischa Berlinski.

Stephen King says: "This is a great story. It has an exotic locale, mystery, and a narrative voice full of humor and sadness. Reading Fieldwork is like discovering an unpublished Robertson Davies novel; as with Davies, you can't stop reading until midnight (good), and you don't hate yourself in the morning (better). It's a Russian doll of a read, filled with stories within stories. The first belongs to the book's narrator, also called Mischa Berlinski. The fictional Berlinski is a lazy-ass journalist in Thailand who makes out — barely — reviewing books, music, and men's clothes. Mischa's friend Josh has his own story to tell. ''You ever been in a Thai jail?'' he asks Mischa over lunch, and we're off and running.

Prison is where Josh met Martiya van der Leun, an American anthropologist who studied an obscure mountain tribe, ended up in prison for the murder of a missionary, and killed herself by swallowing a ball of opium (what a way to go).

All this happens in the first 15 pages, and I defy any reader not to press on. The core of Fieldwork is the Maugham-esque tragedy of Martiya, who loses not just one culture but two, for the oldest reason in the world: love. It's also the story of David Walker, who leaves his missionary calling to follow Jerry Garcia and his bandmates across America. He is called back to Thailand — and his fatal appointment with Martiya — when he hears Jerry sing a hymn at a Dead concert in Eugene, Oregon.

It's the mystery of Martiya and David that tugs the reader through these colorful, smoothly written pages. How could two such fundamentally nice people end up as murderer and victim? Berlinski eventually provides an answer that's as shocking as it is satisfying."

He also says: "I've already written about this one, and once is enough. Suffice it to say there hasn't been a more readable story about religions in conflict since Somerset Maugham created Sadie Thompson. The fact that Berlinski gives the Christians a fair shake is a breath of fresh air."


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I think I'm going to wait until October to read/listen to this one - I have several others that I need to get read for my August/September reads.


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I think I'm going to wait until October to read/listen to this one - I have several others that I need to get read for my August/September reads."

No ptoblem. I think it best we wait for other folks to catch up, too. I just sent an message to everyone about it.


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
It's been quiet around here. Everyone must be busy reading! lol

Hope you are looking forward to our upcoming group read. Be sure to check your library's availability soon!

Happy reading!
Debra


message 5: by Almeta, co-moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Fieldwork waiting for library pick up as we speak!


message 6: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber | 126 comments I'm looking forward to this one much more than I was for LNOTR. I should probably look into getting myself a copy of it sometime in the near future. :)


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I'm on the fence about this one. I have not picked up my audio copy yet from the library - not sure what my stumbling block is..... ho hum.....


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I'm on the fence about this one. I have not picked up my audio copy yet from the library - not sure what my stumbling block is..... ho hum....."

I've been in a slump lately. I think we are down about summer being over and the upcoming cold weather... course that would depend on what part of the world you live in. Anyway, I'm hoping to perk up a bit with a new discussion with all of you!


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I think because the book is schedule for October, I kind of want to read thriller / horror books for this month - I am going to read/listen to some books that will not be in this genre but I want to make that less and not more. Also, I read some of the reviews and this book is not grabbing me, but neither did Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving but I got thru that one and I think we had a nice discussion on it. I don't know - I guess I'm just being flakey!!! :}


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I think because the book is schedule for October, I kind of want to read thriller / horror books for this month - I am going to read/listen to some books that will not be in this genre but I want t..."

Yeah, I understand that October seems like the month for spooky stuff! Maybe we should have kept that in mind when picking Oct-Nov's read. We'll improved as we go along!


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
And.... we are off to the races! I've started already, have you? Already pretty drawn in!


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
This book is moving pretty fast for me, even though I'm taking time to write notes for our discussion. Will be adding notes soon. Am enjoying it!

Anyone else started? Initial impressions?


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Anyone alive out there???


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Hey Debra - waving.... I'm here - I haven't read this book yet, I may listen to it on audio but will probably not do that until November.


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Hey Debra - waving.... I'm here - I haven't read this book yet, I may listen to it on audio but will probably not do that until November."

Yay! Someone is out there, and kicking! Drop us a shout now and then. Looking forward to your comments in Nov. on Fieldwork.


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Will do - with this month being October, I just want to get some horror books completed for this month. I will be starting Stephen Kings, Mile 81 by Stephen King on my Nook soon. So excited to read this book!!!!


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Will do - with this month being October, I just want to get some horror books completed for this month. I will be starting Stephen Kings, Mile 81 by Stephen King on my Nook soon. So excited to..."

I've got to get Mlle 81 uploaded to my Nook and read it, too! Always a treat to read something new from King! And in Nov, we get BIG book to read!


message 18: by Almeta, co-moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
I just started the book. On page 23. Probably will have more to say soon.


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Almeta wrote: "I just started the book. On page 23. Probably will have more to say soon."

I've finished part one, but haven't typed my notes in yet. Will do so soon. Pretty good reading, so far!


Barbara (bwilliams54) | 2 comments I'm on page 100 and so far it has keep my interest. Have no idea where it's going...and that's NOT a bad thing!


message 21: by Debra (last edited Oct 10, 2011 06:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "I'm on page 100 and so far it has keep my interest. Have no idea where it's going...and that's NOT a bad thing!"

Yes, there is definitely a mystery I'm itching to see solved!


Anita (amynita) | 6 comments I have a copy of Fieldwork reserved for me in the library, will pick it up tomorrow!


message 23: by Almeta, co-moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Okay, I'm moving over to the part one discussion. Come join me there.


message 24: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber | 126 comments I'm glad we decided to take 2 months to read each book because I haven't had a chance to start this yet and I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll be able to start participating in the discussion in the next week.


message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments ditto for me as well.......


Carmen | 25 comments Finished, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm won't say too much so others can catch up


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
My bad. I thought I had PLENTY of time to fit this one in and actually had started it, and thought it was moving along nicely. Then, I saw that others were waiting, so I put it aside to read other books. NOW, I'm getting behind. I promise I will get back to Fieldwork real soon and start contributing to the discussion.


message 28: by glenda (new)

glenda (ayngelwing) Okay, am about half way through Fieldwork, and have to say I'm starting to feel like I'm pushing a rock uphill... Okay, not quite, it's a nice enough story, but I'm not really "feeling it". It's like I just want to finish and move on. Anyone else have a comment they'd like to share?


Angie I agree with you 100% glenda. I didn't "feel it" the entire book.


message 30: by glenda (new)

glenda (ayngelwing) Angie wrote: "I agree with you 100% glenda. I didn't "feel it" the entire book."

Well, I'm glad I'm not alone, Angie... but I admire you for making it through. :O) I'm not sure I will...


message 31: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber | 126 comments I just started it this morning. Am I reading correctly? Has the author used himself as the main character?


message 32: by glenda (new)

glenda (ayngelwing) Amber wrote: "I just started it this morning. Am I reading correctly? Has the author used himself as the main character?"

Yes, Amber, it seems that he has done exactly that... Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but I've found that it's just not that interesting a story to me. I'm going to try one more time to push through to the end if I can...


Carmen | 25 comments Hang in there guys, if you can make it to Part 3, its a little better and 4 flys. I think the writer just draws things out so long.


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Amber wrote: "I just started it this morning. Am I reading correctly? Has the author used himself as the main character?"

I found myself flipping back through the pages to see if the narrator had mentioned his name before I realized the narrator was the author. It says so on the front flap of the hardcover I'm reading from, and I'd obviously forgotten or overlooked that.

I'll be joining in on the discussions by mid-week, I hope!

Carmen says it gets better by Part 4, so I'm not too worried about not enjoying it. I was liking it while I read Part 1... but, I'm going to start over at the beginning because I've read a few books since I first started it and want to come from a fresh perspective when I pick it up again.

I think so many of us are horror/thriller fans that we are expecting something more exciting from the books King has recommended. But don't fret! You want excitement and thrills and horror? Join in our next group read of The Passage. That one is meaty and should whet your horror/thriller appetites!


message 35: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments This book does not sound like an interesting read. I was going to squeeze it in before the end of the year, (I say that instead of the end of the month because we are practically there).


message 36: by glenda (new)

glenda (ayngelwing) I've read The Passage. It's a great story, you will soooo enjoy it!


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I finished Fieldwork last night and enjoyed it enough to give it 4 stars. Don't let part 2 keep you from finishing the book; it does seem to drag a bit, but gets so much better in part 3 and the rest of the book. !


Barbara (bwilliams54) | 2 comments This was my review - I wasn't a big fan:
This was an ambitious first novel and I wish I could have given it a higher rating. The mystery of Martiya unravels as the author takes us from her student years at Berkeley to the village of Dan Loi, Thailand. At the same time, the author gives us insight into the Walker family living as missionaries in Thailand. Both worlds will come together at the end. The author jumped back and forth from future to past thru the narrator of the book, a young writer obsessed with the life of Martiya. This is where I found it challenging to keep up with all the characters in the book. Some I didn’t really care for and weren’t sure why they were thrown in. I do look forward to his next book to see how he progresses as a writer - I think he will go far.(less)


message 39: by Almeta, co-moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
I advise...Don't be a quiter. Stick with it.


message 40: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber | 126 comments I got to about the halfway mark and racked up my 2nd late fee on this book and was forced to return it (we can only renew an item once). So, hopefully in the next week or two I'll have some free time to go back and finish it. I enjoyed the first part and then part 2 started to drag, so I set it aside. But after reading everyone's posts that it gets much better again by the 3rd part, I'm certain I'll finish. It just won't be by tonight!


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Amber wrote: "I got to about the halfway mark and racked up my 2nd late fee on this book and was forced to return it (we can only renew an item once). So, hopefully in the next week or two I'll have some free t..."

No worries. I do hope you are able to finish it. It's a pretty good read!


Carmen | 25 comments Interesting comments about the book, kinda off topic but, Do you ever quit a book? I know a lot of people who do, they just don't like it or they say there are too many books to read one you don't enjoy. I have this hang up. I never quit a book, feel like I have to finish it, keep thinking it will get better, don't want to fail the author who worked so hard. Anyone weird like me? :)


Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Carmen wrote: "Interesting comments about the book, kinda off topic but, Do you ever quit a book? I know a lot of people who do, they just don't like it or they say there are too many books to read one you don't ..."

I'm the same way, Carmen. I've no idea why I can't bring myself to give up on a book. I can remember only quitting one book and it was poorly written and incomprehensible. I'm sure I've quit others, but can't remember any more at this time.


message 44: by Marc-Antoine (new)

Marc-Antoine Life is to short to spend your leisure time reading something you find horrible, if I can't stand the book I stop.


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