Mischa Berlinski, Fieldwork

This is an unsolicited advertisement for Mischa Berlinksi’s first novel, Fieldwork. It’s a compelling mystery, fluently and charmingly told. Without being at all pretentious, it’s also a challenging novel of ideas. Berlinski juxtaposes an imaginary Southeast Asian hill people who have remarkable religious rites of their own, a three-generation family of American evangelical missionaries who are thoroughly acclimatized and believe in the local gods (albeit as devils), a Dutch-American ethnologist who also happens to be a politically conservative woman, and a contemporary slacker dude. He describes everyone with respect and empathy. I can’t think of a way to discuss the issues Berlinski raises without spoiling the plot, so I will just say: read it.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.