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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 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 Times
Short-listed three times for the Booker Prize, Anita Desai explores time and transformation in these artful novellas
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Anita Desai ruminates on art and memory, illusion and disillusion, and the sharp divide between lifes expectations and its realities in three perfectly etched novellas. Set in India in the not-too-distant past, the stories dramas illuminate the ways in which Indian culture can nourish or suffocate. All are served up with Desais characteristic perspicuity, subtle humor, and sensitive writing.
Overwhelmed by their own lack of purpose, the men and women who populate these tales set out on unexpected journeys that present them with a fresh sense hope and opportunity. Like so many flies in a spiders web, however, they cannot escape their surroundingsas none of us can. An impeccable craftsman, Desai elegantly reveals our human frailties and the power of place.
Advance Praise for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders:
'Astonishing . . . reveals a writer who seems to combine the intimate rural rootedness and gentle humour of R.K. Narayan with the literary sophistication and stylishness of Jhumpa Lahiri. . . . In Other Rooms, Other Wondersis quite unlike anything recently published on the Indian side of the border, and throws the gauntlet down to a new generation of Indian writers. For the first time in this part of Asia, there is serious competition out there."William Dalrymple, Financial Times
'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."Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
'A blazingly good writer. He brings to vivid and compelling life a country and its people."David Davidar, author of The Solitude of Emperors
'Daniyal Mueenuddin"s Pakistanis are like Chekhov"s Russians, so fully realized that we never wonder over what motivates them. They are living, breathing presences'"sometimes brought so close that, I daresay, you hear the sounds of their breathing and the roll of gravel under their feet. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders brings us a new way of seeing the world, and it is one that we could not have anticipated."Elizabeth Evans, author of Carter Clay
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.
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