In other rooms other wonders by daniyal mueenuddin
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal MueenuddinA major literary debut that explores class, culture, power, and desire among the ruling and servant classes of Pakistan.
In the spirit of Joyces Dubliners and Turgenevs A Sportsmans Sketches, Daniyal Mueenuddins collection of linked stories illuminates a place and a people through an examination of the entwined lives of landowners and their retainers on the Gurmani family farm in the countryside outside of Lahore, Pakistan. An aging feudal landlords household staff, the villagers who depend on his favor, and a network of relations near and far who have sought their fortune in the cities confront the advantages and constraints of station, the dissolution of old ways, and the shock of change.
Mueenuddin bares—at times humorously, at times tragically—the complexities of Pakistani class and culture and presents a vivid picture of a time and a place, of the old powers and the new, as the Pakistani feudal order is undermined and transformed.
Sex and Other Social Devices
These eight interlinked stories take the reader from the mannered drawing rooms of Lahore to the mud villages beyond, describing the overlapping lives of an ageing landowner, K. K Harouni, his extended family members, many of whom have abandoned the feudal life for a metropolitan existence in Paris, London and New York, and his army of servants who are still all too dependant on the old way. What Mueenuddin excels at is prizing out the complicated power structures that lie between master and servant, parent and child, husbands, wives, lovers. He describes the feckless ways in which abuse is inflicted onto a servant by his master. In 'A Spoiled Man', the family's loyal servant, Rezek, is thoroughly beaten by the police who are hungry for a confession after Rezek's feudal master informs them that the old man's wife is missing, presumed murdered; in another story, the patrician Harouni takes young Husna as his lover to relieve the lonliness of old age but his affections do not extend to including her in his will, so she is left exiled and dispossessed, after his death. Women, as well as the poor, are Mueenuddin's other greatest victims, caught within the limits of a patriarchy that verges on the medieval, as well as misogynistic. But what jars at times is Mueenuddin's portrayal of these women not merely as victims but as ambitious, calculating ones.
Husna needed a job. She stole up the long drive to the Lahore house of the retired civil servant and landlord K. Harouni, bearing in her lacquered fingers a letter of introduction from, of all people, his estranged wife. The butler, knowing that Husna served the old Begum Harouni in an indefinite capacity, somewhere between maidservant and companion, did not seat her in the living room. Instead, he put her in the office of the secretary, Shah Sahib, who every afternoon took down in shorthand a few pages of Mr. Ushered into the living room by the secretary after a quarter of an hour, Husna gazed around her, as petitioners do, more tense than curious, taking in the worn gold brocade on the sofa, a large Chinese painting of horsemen over the rosewood mantel. Her attention was drawn to ranks of black-and-white photographs in silver frames—hunters in shooting caps, posing with strings of birds or piles of game; women in saris, their hair piled high in the style of the fifties, one in riding breeches, with an oversized dedication in looping script.
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In particular, it focuses on the stories of women. In a society where they are often regarded as property, women see love as a kind of business.
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