In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
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
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 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.
- November 2009
- 5.5 × 8.3 in
/ 256 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“Remarkable. . . . a poignant picture of Punjabi life.” — The Economist
“Mueenuddin’s talent lets us perceive not just [Pakistan’s] machinations but also its beauty. . . . In this labyrinth of power games and exploits, Mueenuddin inserts luminous glimmers of longing, loss and, most movingly, unfettered love.” — New York Times Book Review
“Mueenuddin convincingly captures the mindset or speech of any class. . . . A collection full of pleasures.” — Washington Post
“[Mueenuddin’s] crisp, vivid voice glides effortlessly into his various characters’ heads. . . . Dark stuff, but full of beauty.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Starred Review. An elegant stylist with a light touch, Mueenuddin invites the reader to a richly human, wondrous experience.” — Publishers Weekly
“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. 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
“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
“Another virtuoso book I want to recommend is In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a collection of stories by the Pakistani-American writer Daniyal Mueenuddin. I can't praise Mueenuddin's work too much: He has the gifts of insight into human behavior of Alice Munro, the gift for detail we find in Updike and William Trevor, and the ability to make sentences and paragraphs that pack the punch of something out of James Salter and Richard Ford.” — Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio