In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

224 pages; Norton
In his debut collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Daniyal Mueenuddin, a young Pakistani writer, manages to make tangible the persistence of the ancient in the face of the modern. Not only do his stories often examine the unstable truce between old caste systems and late capitalism in his society, but the writing accomplishes a similar truce. The language is cultured, knowing, elegant, even when touching on the brutalizing poverty of the peasant classes. Each story is a lesson in construction and ends with a powerful expansion of vision—Joycean epiphanies that give even the ugliest moments a sense of transcendent humanity and beauty. The first stories in the book are dusty with Pakistan's poor; the later stories are drenched in its wealthy. Mueenuddin's prose unfolds to reveal a gorgeous set of layered realities, touched with love and dark foreboding. In Islamabad and Lahore, and even in Paris and London, the anger of the poor, the caprices of the powerful, and the enormous clamorous shadows of Islam are always present, always at the corner of the eye or audible in the background.
— Vince Passaro