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In Other Rooms, Other Wondersby Daniyal Mueenuddin
This debut collection of interlinked short stories chronicles the clash of classes within contemporary Pakistan. Mueenuddin writes with a deliberate Chekhov-like sense of pace and fills each story with complex, well-drawn characters. A National Book Award finalist, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders marks the emergence of a wonderful new talent from South Asia.
Synopses & Reviews
A major literary debut that explores class, culture, power, and desire among the ruling and servant classes of Pakistan.
In the spirit of Joyce's Dubliners and Turgenev's A Sportsman's Sketches, Daniyal Mueenuddin's collection of linked stories illuminates a place and a people through an examination of the entwined lives of landowners and their retainers on the Gurmani family farm in the countryside outside of Lahore, Pakistan. An aging feudal landlord's household staff, the villagers who depend on his favor, and a network of relations near and far who have sought their fortune in the cities confront the advantages and constraints of station, the dissolution of old ways, and the shock of change.
Mueenuddin bares — at times humorously, at times tragically — the complexities of Pakistani class and culture and presents a vivid picture of a time and a place, of the old powers and the new, as the Pakistani feudal order is undermined and transformed.
"In eight beautifully crafted, interconnected stories, Mueenuddin explores the cutthroat feudal society in which a rich Lahore landowner is entrenched. A complicated network of patronage undergirds the micro-society of servants, families and opportunists surrounding wealthy patron K.K. Harouni. In 'Nawabdin Electrician,' Harouni's indispensable electrician, Nawab, excels at his work and at home, raising 12 daughters and one son by virtue of his cunning and ingenuity — qualities that allow him to triumph over entrenched poverty and outlive a robber bent on stealing his livelihood. Women are especially vulnerable without the protection of family and marriage ties, as the protagonist of 'Saleema' learns: a maid in the Harouni mansion who cultivates a love affair with an older servant, Saleema is left with a baby and without recourse when he must honor his first family and renounce her. Similarly, the women who become lovers of powerful men, as in the title story and in 'Provide, Provide,' fall into disgrace and poverty with the death of their patrons. An elegant stylist with a light touch, Mueenuddin invites the reader to a richly human, wondrous experience." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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." Manil Suri
"A stunning achievement....Such is its narrative power that I couldn't stop turning the page." Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
In the spirit of James Joyce's Dubliners, Mueenuddin's collection of linked stories illuminates a place and a people through an examination of the entwined lives of landowners and their retainers on the Gurmani family farm in Lahore, Pakistan.
Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in Fiction and the 2009 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."--
A moving debut story collection centered on Nigerian women, as they build lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, and the burden and strength of love.
Award-winning novelist Anita Desai explores time and transformation in these three artful novellas
A triptych of beautifully crafted novellas make up Anita Desais exquisite new book. Set in modern India, but where history still casts a long shadow, the stories move beyond the cities to places still haunted by the past, and to characters who are, each in their own way, masters of self-effacement.
In ‘The Museum of Final Journeys an unnamed government official is called upon to inspect a faded mansion of forgotten treasures, each sent home by the absent, itinerant master. As he is taken through the estate, wondering whether to save these precious relics, he reaches the final - greatest - gift of all, looming out of the shadows.
In ‘Translator, Translated, middle-aged Prema meets her successful publisher friend Tara at a school reunion. Tara hires her as a translator, but Prema, buoyed by her work and the sense of purpose it brings, begins deliberately to blur the line between writer and translator, and in so doing risks unravelling her desires and achievements.
The final story is of Ravi, living hermit-like in the burnt-out shell of his family home high up in the Himalayan mountains. He cultivates not only silence and solitude but a secret hidden away in the woods, concealed from sight. When a film crew from Delhi intrude upon his seclusion, it compels him to withdraw even further until he magically and elusively disappears…
Rich and evocative, remarkable in their clarity and sensuous in their telling, these stories remind us of the extraordinary yet delicate power of this pre-eminent writer.
"Astonishing. Okparantas narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the readers heart, with the power and force of revelation."—Paul Harding
Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love. Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties. Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again. Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change. Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch. Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination.
"Intricate, graceful prose propels Okparantas profoundly moving and illuminating book. I devoured these stories and immediately wanted more. This is an arrival."—NoViolet Bulawayo
"Okparanta's prose is tender, beautiful and evocative. These powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria are told with compassion and a certain sense of humor. What a remarkable new talent."—Chika Unigwe
"A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America. Happiness, Like Water is a deeply affecting literary debut, the work of a sure and gifted new writer."—Julie Otsuka
About the Author
Daniyal Mueenuddin attended Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. After working as a lawyer in New York City, he now manages a farm in Pakistan.
Table of Contents
On Ohaeto Street 1
Story, Story! 47
Runs Girl 67
Tumours and Butterflies 169
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