In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

by Daniyal Mueenuddin

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Overview

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in Fiction and the 2009 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. “The rural rootedness and gentle humour of R.K. Narayan with the literary sophistication and stylishness of Jhumpa Lahiri.”—Financial TimesPassing from the mannered drawing rooms of Pakistan’s cities to the harsh mud villages beyond, Daniyal Mueenuddin’s linked stories describe the interwoven lives of an aging feudal landowner, his servants and managers, and his extended family, industrialists who have lost touch with the land. In the spirit of Joyce’s Dubliners and Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Sketches, these stories comprehensively illuminate a world, describing members of parliament and farm workers, Islamabad society girls and desperate servant women. A hard-driven politician at the height of his powers falls critically ill and seeks to perpetuate his legacy; a girl from a declining Lahori family becomes a wealthy relative’s mistress, thinking there will be no cost; an electrician confronts a violent assailant in order to protect his most valuable possession; a maidservant who advances herself through sexual favors unexpectedly falls in love.Together the stories in In Other Rooms, Other Wonders make up a vivid portrait of feudal Pakistan, describing the advantages and constraints of social station, the dissolution of old ways, and the shock of change. Refined, sensuous, by turn humorous, elegiac, and tragic, Mueenuddin evokes the complexities of the Pakistani feudal order as it is undermined and transformed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393337204
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/16/2009
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 320,502
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Daniyal Mueenuddin was brought up in Lahore, Pakistan and Elroy, Wisconsin. A
graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, The Best American Short Stories 2008, selected by Salman Rushdie, and the forthcoming PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories 2010. For a number of years he practiced law in New York. He now lives on a farm in Pakistan’s southern Punjab.

What People are Saying About This

Nadeem Aslam

Under Daniyal Mueenuddin's gaze, Pakistan is lit up as though by a lightning flash, clear, sharp-edged. This is a debut as auspicious as something arresting, beautiful, or wise (as opposed to clever) on every single page. I can remarkable, I admire it so deeply.

Mohsin Hamid

A stunning achievement. This superb collection ranges across a vast swath of contemporary Pakistan—from megacities to isolated villages, from feudal landlords to servant girls—and such is its narrative power that I couldn’t stop turning the page. Daniyal Mueenuddin is a writer of enormous ambition, and he has the prodigious talent to match.

Manil Suri

Daniyal Mueenuddin takes us into a sumptuously created world, peopled with characters who are both irresistible and compellingly human. His stories unfold with the authenticity and resolute momentum of timeless classics.

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In Other Rooms, Other Wonders 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
idoc_dewinter More than 1 year ago
This was unlike most books I have read, consisting of short stories that interweaved into a larger theme. What interested me towards it was the idea of writing about the Pakistani feudal system that continues to resonate in the present day, something that is not commonly written by contemporary Pakistani authors, unless one can translate the novels into English. It was well written: the characters were purposeful and had substance, and the situations they were faced with were direct consequences from the choices they made. Most of the characters did have a complete end, while the fate of others were left up to the reader even though one could easily assume what would be the result of their exploits. Each story dealt with a different social class, focusing on the hardships they must face because the of the lives they are forced to lead. It is easy to make judgements about the charactes and their lives, such as the rich being too powerful, fattened up by their gluttonous behaviors, however after seeing the social constraints placed upon every class, the upper class are no exception to the rules of culture and aristocracy. Mueenuddin is careful not to make any exception or hold any one class in regard over another allowing the reader to form their own opinions about the way each class lives. Although each story fit into another, there was a feeling of incompleteness at the end. There was no real hope for most of the characters, and instead of feeling that each character was going to upgrade from their present lives, they were either forced to endure their continued life of misery or their lives just became worse. The lack of at least one instance of happiness was probably the only disappointing aspect the novel because it left a yearning, a desire to achieve the ultimate goal of self-satisfaction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Insightful, descriptive, diverse stories of the many landscapes and people that make up Pakistan - a complex country with complex people. Loved it and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading South Asian fiction with a focus on relationships and characters.
momwifeattorneygolfer More than 1 year ago
Thank you, Mr. Mueenuddin, for sharing your gift!! This will probably go down as one of my favorite novels of all time. Although it is written in short stories (which I am not a huge fan of) all the chapters connect, and it fairly reads like a novel.
ResearchGuy More than 1 year ago
This is a set of short stories from an author who has published short stories previously in various periodicals. I received a publisher's advance reading copy 9 January 2009, and read selections over the next month or so. The stories take place in the author's native Pakistan, and portray various lives in different situations. The settings vary from rural to urban, but there is a continuity of characters, tying all the stories together. For instance, the rich land owner K K Harouni lives in Islamabad, but own land in a rural area. Most of the stories take place in the worker's village on his farm, in the neighbouring villages or in other villages connected to Harouni's workers or other members of their community. In one story we are with Harouni at his death, learning more of the intrigues and trials of the rich upper strata of Pakistani society. The stories vary in style. Mueenuddin reveals the inner dynamics of Pakistani culture through his characters and the events in their lives. He reveals the pitiful, exploited poverty of the majority of the people we meet. Likewise he evokes a sympathetic lament from the reader over the entrenched corruption. Everything has a price. No justice is objective. The police and magistrates, and any level of civil administration is open for bribes. Those with money can make the wheels move in the direction of their favor. Yet he also includes a stream of reaping what you sow. There is even a murder mystery in this collection. This illustrates the injustice of the justice system in Pakistan. This tale involves the police and judges, entailing false accusations, a falsified charge, bribes, counter-bribes, and finally a resolution that might surprise you. On a couple of these stories, I was left puzzled about just what it was supposed to mean. Overall, though, I think other readers will agree with my general conclusion that these are rich portraits of people and a cultural milieu many would not otherwise see.
BillPilgrim More than 1 year ago
This is a book of short stories that are slightly linked, in that the main characters are all related on some level to a feudal landowner who lives in Lahore, Pakistan. They are either relatives or servants of the man, who himself is the main character in one of the stories. The books presents a different picture of Pakistan than what we usually get here in the USA. The main family is not religious, and they live in a mostly secular society. We do not hear much of the religious people of the country, only rarely in passing. The stories are primarily rather sad, ending badly for most of the people. Life there is still very hard for the non-religious people, and they struggle to try to find any happiness. This is especially true of the women, of either class, who have little freedom in a very patriarchal country. In a few of the stories, there are women who become mistresses or second wives of wealthy men, and who are then discarded. If you are interested in learning about life in Pakistan, and if you don't need a feel good ending, the stories are very well written and interesting. I found the book very enjoyable.
Emmyfa More than 1 year ago
This collection of somewhat connected (some barely connected) short stories did not hold my interest. I read it for my book group so I stuck with it. Some of the book group members really liked this book. Others, like me, did not. It depends on what you like. I am not a fan of short stories but thought this would be ok since they were touted as connected but the connections are so far away that they might as well not be connected. All of the characters are troubled and there are no happy endings. I will say it is well written.
madfry More than 1 year ago
This collection of short stories is amazing. Muenuddin has a way with words that often takes your breath away. I can't wait for his next book!
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On the positive side, the author sheds a lot of light on the feudal system in Pakistan. But he also seems to go out of his way to write in a nebulous, almost frustrating style.
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Great way to read about the historical and personal perspective in Pakistan.