Book - 2007
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When his girlfriend takes a job as a schoolteacher in northern Thailand, Mischa Berlinski goes along for the ride, working as little as possible for one of Thailand's English-language newspapers. One evening a fellow expatriate tips him off to a story. A charismatic American anthropologist has been found dead - is it a suicide?
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374299163
Characteristics: 320 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 29, 2017

I can't remember the last time I was so completely absorbed by a book. Perhaps it was the near magical absence of family and responsibilities, or maybe it was just the perfect blend of writing style and story, regardless this book cast a spell over me. The meandering plot, personal anecdotes which inserted the author as narrator into the next, and the footnotes imitating a scholarly text were all elements that combined into an absolutely mesmerizing tale.

For readers interested in anthropology and ethnographic studies, this is the book for you. For readers disappointed by Euphoria, look no further.

This book was a finalist in 2007 for the National Book Award, ultimately losing to Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke. I think the judges made a mistake.


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notTom Dec 16, 2010

A freelance journalist becomes fascinated with the story of an American anthropologist who has been sentenced to life in prison in northern Thailand. Her crime? Killing a Christian missionary. As the journalist delves into the lives of both the perpetrator and victim, he discovers the plight of the native Dyalo tribe as they have become the battleground of an idealistic struggle between anthropology and religion: one side concerned with unearthing the authentic (spirit-worshiping) identity of the tribe, and the other striving for the salvation of its souls.

A 2007 National Book Award Finalist, this novel brings the culture and customs of Thailand into vivid focus while its flowing style and compelling story make it easy for the reader to be carried along by its current.

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