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disco for the departed

In Disco for the Departed, currently the last Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery, Colin Cotterill continues his romp in late-1970s Laos, seen mostly through the eyes of Siri, national coroner and temporal embodiment of an ancient Hmong shaman. As usual, the novel is well-constructed and well-written. Never heavy, yet filled with local detail and interesting cultural observations, it makes a great plane or beach read. My only concern about this series is what native Lao think of it; I wonder if Cotterill, who obviously likes Laos and its culture, is romanticizing the country and/or falling prey to the easy stereotypes to which cultural outsiders are often vulnerable? Something to at least be aware of as you read the books.

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