In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Daniyal Mueenuddin, the son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, grew up in Pakistan and Wisconsin, graduated from Dartmouth and Yale, and has practiced corporate law in New York. His first book, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, is set in the Punjab region, where he wrote it while living on the family farm that he oversees and that served as a model for the fictional farm of K. K. Harouni. The eight interconnected stories of the collection depict ordinary Pakistanis of all classes. K. K., a retired civil servant and a still-wealthy member of a fading Pakistani aristocracy, serves as a unifying figure for the stories, which focus on those who surround him: his family, colleagues, and servants.
In the lead story, “Nawabdin Electrician” (2008), K. K. is the patron of a likable mechanic and general handyman whose house has “running water in all three rooms.” As the father of twelve daughters and one son, Nawab thoroughly enjoys his family, hiding coveted lumps of brown sugar in his vest to surprise and delight them. In addition, he carries on numerous private enterprises to augment his meager wages and prepare for his daughters’ dowries. Nawab maintains the tube wells that irrigate his employer’s sugarcane, cotton, and mango fields. He also knows how to adjust electricity meters to save his poorer clients money. He is benignly dishonesta sort of Pakistani Robin Hood.
Traveling from job to job on a rickety bicycle, Nawab...
(The entire section is 2068 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Booklist 105, no. 9/10 (January 1-15, 2009): 46.
The Economist 390, no. 8619 (February 21, 2009): 85.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 23 (December 1, 2008): 1223
London Review of Books 31, no. 14 (July 23, 2009): 27-28.
The New York Review of Books 56, no. 17 (November 5, 2009): 39-40.
The New York Times Book Review, February 8, 2009, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly 255, no. 46 (November 17, 2008): 37-38.
The Spectator 310, no. 9429 (May 16, 2009): 36.
Time 173, no. 5 (February 9, 2009): 56.
The Times Literary Supplement, April 17, 2009, p. 21.
The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2009, p. W2.
The Washington Post, February 15, 2009, p. BW10.
World Literature Today 83, no. 4 (July/August, 2009): 68.
(The entire section is 73 words.)