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IN OTHER ROOMS, OTHER WONDERS By: Daniyal Mueenuddin July 22, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     The author of this short story collection was raised in Lahore, Pakistan and Elroy, Wisconsin, so how can it not be interesting? The Dartmouth and Yale Law School graduate has told tales of the hierarchy of servants and of the wealthy friends and family members of an aging feudal landowner. The stories are sad and funny, tragic and heart wrenching as they speak of the condition of being human and the blind luck (or lack of it) assigned to those who live in a society where they are judged, not by their own merits, but by the family and area into which they were born.
     “Saleema” is this readers favorite story in this collection. It addresses the issue of women’s places and roles in Pakistan and how sorely twists of fate can affect them. We all shudder at the thought of losing our livelihoods, homes, and savings, but this story makes one fully realize that many people living in other countries who suffer such setbacks do not have the support systems in place that we do. They have nowhere to turn, no social programs or agencies to aid them, and often, families too poor to help them if they wished to. They face wretched futures with no hope of reversal.
     The portraits Mueenuddin has drawn of his characters are striking, raw, and very believable. To those of you who love literary fiction, this is a collection to savor. The book begins with a quote of an old Punjabi proverb which says it all about the book’s contents: “Three things for which we kill — Land, women and gold.”   Take it from there.

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