'A Poignant Picture of Punjabi Life'

Should we not read Economist about a new collection of stories by an American brought-up Pakistani, who throws vivid light on the complex culture of his soil?
IN OTHER ROOMS, OTHER WONDERS, is Daniyal Mueenuddin’s first debut which is about the life of a Pakistani feudal lord. But there is a lot more magic in this than a mere fictional biography of an aging landlord, which justly makes it a literary piece of work by painting things in a large canvas of Pakistani society, especially of Punjab. Nothing could make a foreign journalist describe the Pakistani society so accurately than the stories carved by Mueenuddin, that:

IN PAKISTAN life is shaped as much by who you know as what you do. In this remarkable debut, a range of characters rich in practical intelligence demonstrate the importance of influence. An electrician burdened with 12 daughters persuades his employer to give him a motorcycle; a servant sleeps her way into maintaining her position in a Lahore household; a down-at-heel woman pleads for a post with a distant rich relation. (Economist.)
Therefore, connections are very much the necessity here. Now some words about the archetypal stories by Daniyal Mueenuddin:

Passing from the mannered drawing rooms of Pakistan’s cities to the harsh mud villages beyond, Daniyal Mueenuddin’s linked stories describe the interwoven lives of an aging feudal landowner, his servants and managers, and his extended family, industrialists who have lost touch with the land... A hard-driven politician at the height of his powers falls critically ill and seeks to perpetuate his legacy; a girl from a declining Lahori family becomes a wealthy relative’s mistress, thinking there will be no cost; an electrician confronts a violent assailant in order to protect his most valuable possession... (Daniyal Mueendin website.)

Pakistan is said to be well understood by its inhibitors and much misunderstood by the outsiders.
Hopefully this collection of short stories, praised by both Mohsin Hamid and Salman Rushdie, will remove any misconceptions in the minds of foreigners, which can save many lives. Moreover, it can remove the number of dejected hearts who often come here with the romantic notion of receiving bliss from the perfume of Pakistan, and return with many natural shocks. I see hope. (Very poignant.)

2 did criticisms:

Sikander Hayat said...

To read more about Pakistan please visit

Abdullah Shahid said...

Seems interesting. I don't want to miss English fiction by Pakistani authors. Thanks for sharing!

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