In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Paperback)
Winner of the Story Prize
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Finalist for the National Book Award
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
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.
— New York Times Book Review
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is a collection full of pleasures…on every page there are wonderful, surprising observations and details.
— Washington Post
The eight short stories of Daniyal Mueenuddin’s enchanting debut are dreamlike, illuminating contemporary Pakistan’s societal contradictions in prose as clear and serene as the contradictions themselves are subtle and tumultuous.
— Boston Globe
Like Turgenev…Mueenuddin has an eye for the tragedy and beauty in lives that a lesser writer might regard merely as miserable or eccentric…In recent years, Pakistan has been regarded in the West with anger and horror. Perhaps Mueenuddin’s portrait will help to bring it a different kind of attention, colored with sorrow and even fondness.
— New York Review of Books
Remarkable.… a poignant picture of Punjabi life.
— The Economist
[Mueenuddin’s] crisp, vivid voice glides effortlessly into his various characters’ heads.… Dark stuff, but full of beauty.
— Entertainment Weekly
An elegant stylist with a light touch, Mueenuddin invites the reader to a richly human, wondrous experience.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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
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