Thursday, February 07, 2008

Book Review: Fieldwork

After six long weeks, I finally finished Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. It took me a long time to get into the book, and even after getting into it, I didn't feel very compelled to read it until quite close to the end. And yet, once I finished it, I felt very satisfied and pleased with the book as a whole. Its characters and feel lingered with me after I was done, which for me is one of the marks of a good book.

The book was interesting on many levels - it tells the tale of a expat living in Thailand who is gradually consumed by researching the life of an anthropologist who murders a Christian missionary in the remote northern part of the country. I liked learning about Thailand (I've never been), I loved the glimpse into foreign fieldwork (in college, I "cheated" and did mine in America), and the third-generation missionary and his family were also fascinating. Berlinski skillfully wove his story, gradually drawing out my curiosity until I was indeed frantically reading late into the night by the end. Thankfully he did finally clear up why the anthropologist killed the missionary (I got a little worried he wasn't going to).

My one complaint is he gets a bit long-winded during the subplots, which is a big reason the book was hard to get through.

Good, solid read, though not for the unmotivated. Four stars.


Chas said...

It sounds interesting. I doubt I'd go out of my way to read it since it took a while to get good.

Cassie said...

Sounds like something I'd really like. This is going on my Wish List immediately!