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Mischa Berlinski
Adult Fiction BERLINS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A fictional version of the author serves as the narrator of Berlinski's uneven first novel, a thriller set in Thailand. Mischa Berlinski, a reporter who's moved to northern Thailand to be with his schoolteacher girlfriend, Rachel, hears from his friend Josh about the suicide of Martiya van der Leun, an American anthropologist, in a Thai jail, where she was serving 50 years for murder. As Mischa begins to investigate Martiya's life and supposed crimes, he becomes increasingly obsessed with the woman. The complications that arise have the potential to be riveting, but the chatty narrative voice takes too many irrelevant detours to build much suspense. Still, Berlinski, who has been a journalist in Thailand, vividly portrays the exotic setting and brings depth and nuance to his depictions of the Thais. Buried within the excess verbiage is a lean, interesting tale about, among many other things, the differences between modern and tribal cultures. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Part of the charm of Berlinski's first novel is that he has accomplished what many educators have struggled to do for years-to turn a seemingly dull academic subject into a riveting read. The cleverly plotted story focuses on Martiya van der Leun, who has committed suicide in a Thai women's prison, where she was serving a 50-year sentence for murdering an American missionary. A young farang (white and foreign) journalist named Mischa Berlinski learns that Martiya was an American anthropologist who for years lived with a tribe called the Dyalos to study its mysterious culture. Mischa finds Martiya's story-and exactly why she committed the crime-so oddly compelling that he dedicates his life to understanding Martiya's fate. He becomes so involved, in fact, that he winds up sacrificing badly needed income and the relationship with his longtime girlfriend. Berlinski the novelist manages to inject just enough arcane information about tribal Thai culture to be informative but not tedious, all the while employing an admirably lighthearted sense of humor. Recommended for most general fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/06.]-Kevin Greczek, Hamilton, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Mischa's girlfriend; gets a teaching job in Thailand.


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