Excerpt from In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

By Daniyal Mueenuddin

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Feb 2009,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2010,
    256 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Saleema had become rigid when Hassan pinched her, raising her shoulders but keeping her eyes on the skillet.

Resting a hand on Hassan’s shoulder, Rafik said, “Uncle, why do you bother this poor girl? What has she done to you?”

“You should ask, what hasn’t she done to me.” Then, after a moment, “The hell with it, she’s a virgin ever since she rowed across the river, how’s that? Don’t ‘Uncle’ me, when you’re my own uncle.”

He threw down his apron, and left the kitchen, saying to the village cook, “Watch out for Kamila Bibi, young man. Mian Sahib doesn’t care what he eats.”

As he walked past Saleema, carrying a tray of food to the living room, Rafik made a funny stiff face and then winked.

That evening the weather changed. This wasn’t the season for rain, but just before dark the wind from the north had begun to blow across the plain, bending the branches of the rosewood trees like a closed hand running up the trunk to strip off the leaves, throwing in front of it a scattering of crows, which flew sloping and tumbling like scraps of black cotton. The rain spattered and made pocks in the dust, cold as rain is before hail. Then it fell heavily. Rafik had taken the drinks into the living room at seven, as he did every day. The food sat warming over coals, there was nothing further to be done till the bell for dinner rang at eight-thirty. The others were in the verandah of the servants’ sitting area. Saleema leaned against the long table, while across from her Rafik sat on a stool. The dim bulbs with tin shades hanging from the ceiling threw a yellow light which left the corners of the room dark. Neither of them could think of anything to say, and Saleema kept wiping her eyes and her face with her dupatta as if she were hot.

When the rain became hard she said, “Come on, let’s go see it come down.”

They walked awkwardly through the empty dining room, which smelled of dust and damp brick, then through an arcade to the back verandah. A single banyan tree stood in the middle of the back lawn, the rain cascading down through its handsbreadth leaves. Saleema leaned against a pillar, Rafik stood next to her, his hands behind his back.

“God forgive us, there’s going to be a lot of damage to the straw that hasn’t been covered,” he said.

“This will even knock down the wheat that hasn’t been cut. Look at how hard it’s coming down.”

She looked over at him, his serious wrinkled face, his stubble. Despite the rain, moths circled around the lamps hanging from the ceiling. She kept bumping her hip against the pillar. Come on, come on, she thought.

Finally, he said, “Well at least they haven’t started planting the cotton yet.”

She turned, with her back to the pillar. “Rafik, we’re both from the village, we know all this.”

He looked over at her quickly. His face seemed hard. She had startled him. Then he did come over.

She put her arms around him. “You’re thin,” she said, as if she were pleading, “you should eat more,” exhaling. The water splashed in the gutter spouts. He also pulled her into his body and held her, melted into her, she was almost exactly as tall as him, his thin body and hers muscular and young. He kissed her neck, not like a man kissing a woman, but inexpertly, as if he were kissing a baby. She kept her eyes open, face on his shoulder.

The electricity went, with a sort of crack, night extinguishing the house and the rain-swept garden.

“Let’s go, little girl,” he whispered in her ear. “They’ll be calling for me.” In the darkness, with the other servants hurrying to bring lamps and candles, no one noticed when Saleema and Rafik returned to the kitchen.

Excerpted from In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin. © 2009 by Daniyal Mueenuddin. Excerpted by permission of W.W.Norton & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...
  • Book Jacket: Complicit
    Complicit
    by Stephanie Kuehn
    When seventeen year-old Jamie Henry receives word that his older sister Cate, is being released from...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  32Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Who Said...

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading, you wish the author that wrote it was a ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O O T F P, Into T F

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.