Mischa Berlinski (born 1973 in New York, United States)[citation needed] is an American author. His first novel, Fieldwork, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. In 2008 Berlinski won a $50,000 Whiting Award, given to writers showing early promise in their careers.[1]


Berlinski is a UC Berkeley graduate, and previously worked as a journalist in Thailand.[2] His father, David Berlinski, is a mathematician and a noted critic of mainstream theories of evolution.[3] Mischa Berlinski is also the son of American cellist Toby Saks (1942–2013).






Fieldwork received widespread attention when renowned author Stephen King's review of it, called "How to Bury a Book," was published in Entertainment Weekly. While King lauds, at length, the novel's complexity, "narrative voice full of humor and sadness," and suspense, he issues a scathing attack on its publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for poor marketing choices:[5]

Why, why, why would a company publish a book this good and then practically demand that people not read it? Why should this book go to waste? Is it because there are people in publishing who believe that readers who liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter are too dumb to enjoy a killer novel like Fieldwork? If so, shame on them for their elitism.

— Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly, April 15, 2007

King's review resulted in increased sales of Fieldwork.[6] When Berlinski won the Whiting Award, he attributed it to his "luck" that "Stephen King, the most famous writer in the world, picked up my book because he didn't like the cover."[7]

In 2007, The New York Review of Books published a positive review of Fieldwork from Hilary Mantel:[8]

Early in Mischa Berlinski's gripping and entertaining first novel there is a piece of postmodern skittishness which points to a truth that novelists shy away from: their trade embarrasses them. When you first start making things up, you expect that someone is going to tell you to stop.

— Hilary Mantel, The New York Review of Books, July 19, 2007


  1. ^ "Novelist Mischa Berlinski is among Whiting award winners", Associated Press in Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "FIELDWORK: A Novel | Mischa Berlinski". Berlinski.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  3. ^ Tim Rutten, "Faith and Reason in Thailand", Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2007;
  4. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Letters - Literature Awards Press Release". Artsandletters.org. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  5. ^ Stephen King, "How to Bury a Book", Entertainment Weekly, April 15, 2007.
  6. ^ "Oxford/Oxford Twp. News | www.journal-news.com". Oxfordpress.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  7. ^ Jocelyn McClurg and Bob Minzesheimer, "Book Buzz: Marriage, sickness and luck", USA Today, October 29, 2008.
  8. ^ [1] Archived June 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.