Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders Paperback – November 16, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
What a picture it paints of a feudal society though throughout the classes! Nawabdin the electrician can fix any machine with mango sap and makeshift wiring until it soon breaks again; he married, early in his life, "a sweet woman of unsurpassed fertility" who gave him twelve daughters for whom he must find dowries by turning his hand to dozens of little businesses until a thief in even more desperate condition tries to kill him for his motorcycle. Lily, a woman in her 30s who is weary of a life of loose sex and wild parties, vows to change into a model farmer's wife when she marries the decent son of a rich landowner. She discovers once married that "I'm not the type to be dutiful. I'm messy and willful and self-destructive." (The paragraph which ends this story is so brilliant I read it three times.Read more ›
At his best, Mueenuddin narrates artfully on grand themes of fidelity and obsession while commenting on rampant corruption and substantial inequality in the patronage-based Pakistani class system. At times the prose borders on beautiful, telling enough details to picture, but not so many to slow the progression.
Several of his characters are profoundly likeable. The banter of the eponymous "Lily" made me think of a naughtier Audrey Hepburn sparring with herself as Princess Anne, and the choices of a young Sohail made me reflect upon the gravity of choices made while we are young. Such emotional proximity makes the tragedies painful, with victories scarce to come by and often at heavy price.
The stories are often so melancholy as to be cathartic. Lamentably, Mueenuddin sometimes loses the cathartic balance and tilts towards nihilism. His wealthy characters are often bored, their impoverished servants often desperate. Perhaps this is a resolute message, that the class system fails both so unutterably, choking the freedom of the individual for the sake of perpetuating itself, and yet rich and poor alike cling to fatalistic destiny without knowing of another way to live.
At times even the purpose of the stories seem to get lost, and I found myself asking "Daniyal, are you trying to tell me something important, or is this merely a nostalgiac vignette?Read more ›
These stories have locations in common too, and the majority of the book takes place near Lahore, on the farmlands of a wealthy Pakistani family. We are shown what life is like for the poor, and for the rich. We become acquainted with landowners, and the workers and servants, and how bad luck or one bad decision can result in catastrophe. Success and happiness in life often depends on the circumstances of one's birth, and the reader gets a lesson about Pakistani culture, and its harshness, its dependence on knowing the right people, and its fatalism. And throw luck into the mix. And because the stories take place at different times, we see how modernization has affected Pakistan - and how some things remain the same.
If you were a fan of A Fine Balance (one of my favorite books), or The God of Small Things, I can *guarantee* that you will love this book. Like those great novels, this one can be both heartbreaking and funny, and many times you will be smiling at some amusing passage only to be devastated by the next.
One other thing to add - I am not, in general, a big fan of short stories. If you feel this way too, do not be put off by the fact this is a book of stories. Both because the book is so well-written, and because the stories share commonality of characters and place, it reads like a novel.
So, highly, highly recommended. This is going down as one of my top reads of the year. It's that good. (And you'll be hooked from page one - another big plus.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is a collection of inter-related short stories, sad, funny, tragic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Miriam C. Jacobs
Being born in America to Pakistani parents, still with family there, this book really resonated with me. I enjoyed it!Published 6 months ago by asna amin
Before buying this book, read the following "excerpt" and make up your mind for yourself. If you like this chapter, you will love the book! Read morePublished 9 months ago by EB
Three stars because you should read it, and not 4 or 5 because it somehow misses its potential. Very readable tales that have much to say about the upper class in Pakistan and the... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Dorothy Potter
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is a series of eight linked short stories set in Pakistan.
Nawabdin, Electrician, the first story, tells of Nawab who works for K.K. Read more
Eight powerful short stories, linked by the fact that all the protagonists are somehow part of the circle of wealthy landowner Mr Harouni - whether his poor servants or wealthy and... Read morePublished 15 months ago by sally tarbox
The author, son of an American mother who wrote for the Washington Post and a Pakistani landowner, tells us at the end of the book that he belongs to both cultures, but sees the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kathleen Ann Burt