Beyond the Book: Background information when reading In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

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 by Daniyal Mueenuddin
  • 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

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Daniyal Mueenuddin on Farming, Traveling West, and Returning Home to Write
Author photo"For many years I have run a farm in Pakistan's southern Punjab. Most of the stories in this book have their origins in my experiences there, and many were written there. Half Pakistani and half American, I have spent equal amounts of time in each country, and so, knowing both cultures well and belonging to both, I equally belong to neither, look at both with an outsider's eye. These stories are written from that place in between, written to help both me and my reader bridge the gap.

My father was a graduate of Oxford, a member first of the Indian and then, after Partition, of the Pakistani civil service - and, most fundamentally, a land owner of the old Punjabi feudal class. My American mother, a reporter with the Washington Post, met my father in Washington, where he was negotiating a treaty. She was twenty seven years younger than him. They married and soon after - in 1960 - moved back to Pakistan.

We lived in Lahore, where I attended the American School until I was thirteen, my classmates the children of westernized Pakistanis or of the few foreigners pursuing their oblique lives in this marginal place. My family spent most vacations on the farm that I now manage, where I ran free day and night with the children of the village, was in and out of their houses, ate with them, explored with them, swam with them. In Lahore I was closer to the old servant who brought me up than to anyone else - thirty years after his death I still wear the bracelet he gave me when I went off to school in America. Because I was a child, the servants and the villagers were not guarded against me, unaware that I was watching; and therefore I learned the rhythms and details of their lives in a way that I never could as a grownup. I heard the women in the village calling to each other over their common walls, walked out with the boys when they took their buffaloes to be watered at the canal. These people, their gestures and intonations as I observed them in my childhood, appear throughout the stories in In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.

At thirteen I was packed off to boarding school in Massachusetts. Five years of full-dress dinners, Latin grammar, lacrosse, and daily chapel, lacquered me to a glossy Boston-Episcopalian sheen, so that by the time I arrived at Dartmouth College I more or less passed as an American. There I wrote poetry, protested against apartheid, sweated it out in the library stacks -- and popped out after four years with a degree in English literature, a debased currency. My aging father had been sending increasingly pressing letters, telling me I must return to Pakistan and take care of the family property, and so, after reflection, I complied."

Read on to find out how Mueenuddin took over the farm, left to practice law in New York, and returned to Pakistan to write these stories.

Article by Karen Rigby

This article was originally published in March 2009, and has been updated for the February 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

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 books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Force
    The Force
    by Don Winslow
    Intense! That's the word. Winslow's The Force rips through its four hundred pages with the...
  • Book Jacket: Shadow Man
    Shadow Man
    by Alan Drew
    Alan Drew's debut novel, Gardens of Water, was an ambitious work of literary fiction set amid ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Noise of Time
    by Julian Barnes
    Confession: I do two terrible – some say unforgivable – things while reading a book. First...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

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.