The fictional events narrated in Mole! – an English translation of Otran, a novel by Ashokamitran – take place within a period of seven months, nearly all of them in the American Midwest. The narrator, a culturally rooted writer from Chennai, is transplanted amidst a motley group of fellow-writers from distant parts of the world, all of them as dangerously dislocated as him. Deprived of the language that has brought them fulfillment and distinction, these writers struggle to retain their place of precarious honour in a strange, unfamiliar and sometimes hostile environment. And in the background looms the endearing, if exasperating, landscape of twentieth-century America. Kalyan Raman’s English translation illumines the subtle, spare strength of Ashokamitran’s prose.