MLA Gold Award Site

Reading guide for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

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

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. The figure of the wealthy landowner K. K. Harouni is the recurring thread that connects the lives of the disparate characters in Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. Describe the nature of the feudal system as defined by this figure sitting atop the pyramid and all his subordinates, acquaintances, and relations.
  2. Even as Mueenuddin reveals that his stories are set in the present-day, the reader is struck by the timelessness of the stories, as if they were fables. How is this effect achieved, and to what end?
  3. Many of Mueenuddin's characters fall into predicaments beyond their control, and these predicaments define the conflicts at the heart of their stories. Women and the poor, in particular, are powerless and suffer because of it. At the same time, the characters reinforce their disadvantages by the choices they make, and so to a degree are agents of their own misfortune. Describe the interplay of these two factors in the fates of his tragic characters. Are the characters responsible for the tragedies that befall them? In the context of these stories, how are responsibility and blame defined and apportioned?
  4. The Pakistani society that Mueenuddin describes contains a striking blend of spirituality and materialism. Spirituality is generally thought to be undermined by materialism. Is this true in the world that Mueenuddin describes? What form does spirituality take in these stories?
  5. The feudal world is sometimes described as being dependent upon a complex system of responsibility and privilege among the different classes. What are the responsibilities and privileges of the lower and higher classes in these stories? Is the system stable? Why or why not?
  6. What is revealed about the possibilities of social mobility in contemporary Pakistan in stories such as "Provide, Provide," "In Other Rooms, Other Wonders," and "Lily"?
  7. "About a Burning Girl" is the only story narrated in first person. How does this set it apart from the others in the collection? Why do you think the author chose to tell this story in first person? Are the stories generally uniform in tone or perspective?
  8. Some critics and readers have dwelled on the darkness of this book. How does humor enter into Mueenuddin's stories?
  9. "Our Lady of Paris" and "A Spoiled Man" feature prominent Western characters. How does the inclusion of these characters, as well as of Pakistani characters who have returned home from abroad, serve to broaden the scope of the collection's depiction of Pakistan?
  10. How sustaining is sexuality as a form of power for the women in these stories?
  11. How do the stories "Lily" and "A Spoiled Man" reveal the idealization of rural life by the wealthy? Why do their characters retreat to the countryside? Do the lives of the poor characters in Mueenuddin's collection support any of their fantasies?
  12. Might these stories be called morality tales?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of W.W. Norton & Company. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday
    by Susan Rivers

    A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

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.