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2007 National Book Award Finalist,
Fiction

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Photo © Louis Monier
Mischa Berlinski
Fieldwork
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

About the Book and Author

A spellbinding tale of anthropologists, missionaries, demon possession, sexual taboos, murder, and an obsessed freelance journalist living in Thailand.

Mischa Berlinski was born in New York in 1973. He studied classics at Columbia University and at the University of California at Berkeley. Among other jobs, he has worked as a journalist in Thailand. He currently lives in Jerémié, Haiti, where his wife Cristina Iampieri works with the UN Stabilization Mission. He has lived in France and Italy. Fieldwork is his first novel.

Suggested Links

Author and book website
www.berlinski.com/mischa/thebook

MySpace Profile
http://profile.myspace.com

Wikipedia Entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mischa_Berlinski

Podcast

Dr. Helen
Commentary on popular culture and society, from a (mostly) psychological perspective.
http://drhelen.blogspot.com/

Excerpt from Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

Copyright © 2007 by Mischa Berlinski. Published in February 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

I first met Josh when I was on vacation just out of college and backpacking through Malaysia and Indonesia, long before Rachel and I moved to Thailand. Josh and I were staying at the same hotel in Penang. He was on a visa run, down from Bangkok. Within about five minutes of spotting me in the hotel bar, Josh had sat himself down next to me and, in admirably direct fashion, informed me of his plans to start a pornographic production company in Vietnam. He had the funding, he said, contacts in the government, and an unbelievable star. These plans, like so many Josh O’Connor plans, eventually came to nothing, but his account was sufficiently compelling that whenever I’m in Bangkok, I always give him a call.

Now I was down from Chiang Mai, writing an article for a Singaporean arts magazine about an up-and-coming Thai sculptor, and Josh and I agreed to meet just after sundown in front of the Ratchawat market. I spent a long, sultry afternoon teasing a few good quotations out of my sculptor; then, just as the streetlights across Bangkok were flickering on, a motorcycle taxi deposited me in front of the 7-Eleven opposite the market, where Josh was already waiting for me, a goofy smile on his chubby face.

Plastic tables packed the narrow sidewalk. The sting of frying chili peppers made my eyes water, and from the market, now closing for the day, the sweet smells of jasmine, lilies, incense, and lemongrass mingled with the smells of rotting fish, molding durian, sweat, car exhaust, and garbage. On the corner, two competing noodle men served up bowls of guoy tieo in a ginger-and-coriander sauce; a little farther down the road, the curry lady had set up shop with huge vats of green curry and red, a jungle curry, a panang curry, and a spicy fish soup. A pretty girl cut up fresh mangoes and served them over sticky rice in a coconut sauce. There was somebody who grilled skewers of chicken over a small open flame and which he served with a peanut sauce.

Excerpted from Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. Copyright © 2007 by Mischa Berlinski. Published in February 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


 

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