It’s no wonder that Danyal Mueenuddin’s extraordinary collection of linked stories, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, is creating a buzz all the way from People Magazine to The Economist. The truth is that I can’t wait to go home and read another chapter, and it’s not often that I get to say that. In the first chapter we meet Nawab, the crafty electrician, who uses the challenge of having sired twelve daughters for whom he must provide dowries as a goad to stretch his resilience, resourcefulness, and sleight of hand. In the second chapter we meet Saleema, a maid who resolutely sleeps her way up until she falls for a fatal form of true love in the arms of an aging valet.
I can’t tell you anymore because I haven’t gotten any farther, but what I can tell you is that Mueenuddin is a remarkable writer with a gift for making us believe in his flesh and blood characters, and letting us in on their heartbreaking stories without compromise or sentimentality which is what makes them ring true. I look forward with real relish to talking with him next Thursday in our Inside Islam series. He’s just what we need to break through the border of Tora Bora, Al-Qaeda, and Benazir Bhutto to get into the heart of the real Pakistan.