* The US doesn’t take kindly to foreign fiction, especially in translation. Oh, and Laos is the new Timbuctoo. (The Babu has great respect for the New York Times, but this is news?) “We have always been sort of monosyllabic in terms of languages, and that extends into ignorance or wariness of other cultures,” said William Strachan, executive editor of Hyperion Press. “People look at a work in translation and quite often think, `These themes don’t speak to me, these situations don’t speak to me.’ And the hard fact is that given the reality of the world, we simply don’t have to be concerned about Laos, but people there might well want to be or have to be concerned about America.”

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