2009 National Book Award Finalist,

Daniyal Mueenuddin

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

W.W. Norton & Company

Video from the 2009 National Book Awards Finalist Reading

Photo credit: Cecilie Brenden


One of the best new story writers in America lives on a farm in Pakistan. A large cast of characters passes through his pages, giving us a wonderful sense of the strata of contemporary Pakistan, and, miraculously, a sharp sense of our own lives. This extraordinarily gifted short story maker has produced one of the best books of this year, and promises a great deal for the future.


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. In the spirit of Joyce’s Dubliners and Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Sketches, these stories comprehensively illuminate a world, describing members of parliament and farm workers, Islamabad society girls and desperate servant women.


The son of an American mother and a Pakistani father, Daniyal Mueenuddin was raised in Pakistan. At thirteen he left his childhood home for boarding school in the United States, after which he went on to attend Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. After graduation he returned to work on his family’s farm in Pakistan’s southern Punjab, where he lives today. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and The Best American Short Stories 2008, selected by Salman Rushdie, and he has been chosen to receive the 2010 PEN/O. Henry Award.


Official Website for Daniyal Mueenuddin

Daniyal Mueenuddin's Wikipedia Entry

Stories by Daniyal Mueenuddin in The New Yorker


From the story “Nawabdin Electrician,” published in In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.

The motorcycle increased his status, gave him weight, so that people began calling him “Uncle,” and asking his opinion on world affairs, about which he knew absolutely nothing. He could now range further, doing a much wider business. Best of all, now he could spend every night with his wife, who had begged to live not on the farm but near her family in Firoza, where also they could educate at least the two eldest daughters. A long straight road ran from the canal headworks near Firoza all the way to the Indus, through the heart of the K.K. Harouni lands. The road ran on the bed of an old highway, built when these lands lay within a princely state. Some hundred and fifty years ago one of the princes had ridden that way, going to a wedding or a funeral in this remote district, felt hot, and ordered that rosewood trees be planted to shade the passersby. He forgot that he had given the order within a few hours, and in a few dozen years he in turn was forgotten, but these trees still stood, enormous now, some of them dead and looming without bark, white and leafless. Nawab would fly down this road on his new machine, with bags and cloths hanging from every knob and brace, so that the bike, when he hit a bump, seemed to be flapping numerous small vestigial wings; and with his grinning face, as he rolled up to whichever tube well needed servicing, with his ears almost blown off, he shone with the speed of his arrival.


From the story “Nawabdin Electrician,” published in In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.