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Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
In Fieldwork, Mischa Berlinski (the fictional protagonist who shares a name with the author) is a journalist who follows his girlfriend to Thailand where she takes a teaching assignment. He does as little work as possible, just writing the occasional article for English-language newspapers. When he's told by another expatriate of an American anthropologist who just committed suicide in a Thai prison while serving a sentence for murder, he's intrigued by the story and begins to dig into its details. The anthropologist, Martiya van de Leun, had immersed herself into the Dyalo culture of far northern Thailand, spending years gaining their trust and understanding their beliefs. David Walker, the prodigal son of missionary family which has been in Thailand for generations, decides he must do his evangelizing in the same area. Berlinski uncovers a story of clashing American ideas in a remote corner of the world. Fieldwork has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "With its offbeat style, Berlinski's consummate fieldwork -- fictional though it may be -- produces an intricate whodunit, both disturbing and entertaining."