Synopses & Reviews
"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
"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.)
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.
Together the stories inIn 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.
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."--
Passing 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 and Turgenev's , 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 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.
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
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.
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.
About the Author
One of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012, CHINELO OKPARANTA grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. She lived in Nigeria until the age of ten, when her family came to the United States. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has also taught middle school, high school, and college.
Table of Contents
Contents On Ohaeto Street 1
Story, Story! 47
Runs Girl 67
Tumours and Butterflies 169