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
  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2010, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


She wanted to explain that she had become a respectable woman, but knew that her mother would never understand.

Her mother found out about the money and wheedled day and night. Saleema kept the money in a pouch that she wore under her shirt. Late one night, she woke to find her mother stealthily untying the pouch with thin practiced hands.

When Saleema sat up, her mother at first said, “I thought I saw a scorpion.” Then, “You owe me, you gravid bitch, coming here puffed up after your whoring. This isn’t a hotel.”

“It’s not my money. And I’ve been buying all the food.”

“It sure seems like your money.”

The mother lay in her bed, coughing.

The old midwife from the village, with filthy hands and a greedy heart, brought the baby into the world, a tiny little boy.

Rafik immediately bonded with his son. He had been in Lahore when his other children, conceived during ten-day leaves, were born and grew up. He named the child Allah Baksh, God-gifted one.

Saleema sat leaning against the wall of the quarters while Rafik played with the little baby, which held his finger in its tiny hand. He clapped and made a crooning sound, till the baby laughed, showing its red toothless gums.

“His teeth are like yours. Plus you two think alike.” She saw that Rafik really did think like the baby, he would sit all afternoon playing with it, engaged with it and seeing the world through its eyes, till it tired. When she opened her blouse to feed the baby, Rafik would look away, embarrassed, lighting his hookah as a distraction, while it smacked and sucked, its tiny throat moving.

Happy months passed, then a year, Saleema became more rounded, she was at the peak of her strange long-faced beauty. Her breasts were heavy with milk.

Rafik sat cross-legged on the lawn one morning, holding the baby. He heard the screen door leading from Harouni’s room open, and the master came out. Rafik quickly stood up.

Salaam, sir.”

“Hello Rafik.” He was in a good mood. “Is this Saleema’s baby?”

The master touched the baby with the flat of his hand. The baby, which had been sleeping, smacked its lips. Rafik always dressed him too warmly, a knitted suit with feet, a floppy hat.

“I must say, he’s the spitting image of you,” Harouni said, teasingly.

Rafik’s face broke involuntarily into a broad smile. “What can I say, Hazoor, life takes strange turns. These are all Your Honor’s blessings.”

Harouni shouted with laughter. “There are some blessings that you shouldn’t attribute to me!”

The old retainer’s gentle face colored.

• • •

A letter arrived from Rafik’s wife. He kept it in his pocket all day, and that night showed it to Saleema. She literally began trembling, sat down on the bed with her head bowed.

“Will you read it to me?”

“All right.” The village maulvi had taught Rafik to read as a boy, so that he could recite the Koran.

He took his battered glasses from a case in his front pocket and began.



As-Salaam Uleikum.

I am writing to you because you have not been home in so many months more than eighteen months and your sons and also I miss you and speak of you at night. The old buffalo died but the younger one had two calves both female so we will have plenty of milk though for a short while we have none. Khalid asks to come to Lahore and find a job there you can find a job for him perhaps with God’s help. Your brother’s shop was robbed but they found no money and now he wants to buy two marlas of land so he will not have cash which is better. The land is on the other side of Afzal’s piece. Everything else is well. Please dear husband come home when Mian Sahib can spare you. We all send our respects.

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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Beware the man of one book

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

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.