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Mole! by Ashokamitran, translated by N Kalyan Raman, Orient Blackswan

What happens when a culturally rooted writer from Chennai is transplanted in a small town in the American Midwest of the mid-1970s—encountering for the first time the unfamiliar Protestant orderliness of city streets and living arrangements, the strange beauty and hostility of a snow-bound northern winter, and the vagaries of discount shopping in a chain store like Kmart? What happens when the writer-narrator is thrown willy-nilly amidst a motley group of fellow writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him?

Kalyan Raman’s English translation illumines the subtle, spare strength of Ashokamitran’s prose. The mural of events is drawn with fine empathy.

“This is an excellent translation. N Kalyan Raman makes you feel that you are reading the original.’ Sushila Ravidranath in The New Indian Express, July 2005

“Kalyan Raman’s translation is of rare excellence. It captures with unforced felicity the tonal values of the original Tamil. A test I applied frequently was to recall the Tamil original from time to time and every time I had no difficulty. This is the ultimate test and Kalyan Raman passes it with flying colours” NS Jagannathan in The Book Review, 2006



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