Showing posts from March, 2009
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

By Daniyal Mueenuddin

Daniyal Mueenuddin is one of the new Pakistani writers-in-English brigade. His first book, a collection of inter-connected short stories, has created quite a bit of buzz in world media. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders has a fresh feel to its voice and its characters prove to be rather arresting.

There is something R.K.Narayan about the whole book – in the rootedness of the milieu, in the ‘almost-effacement’ of the author’s voice, in the ‘letting the story and characters do most of the talking’ type of writing. Of course, the Punjab countryside is redolent of Khushwant Singh in Train to Pakistan and a lot of other Indian books we have read in recent times (Manju Kapur and even Vikram Chandra’s strange partition story in Sacred Games).

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is a set of 8 stories all set around the large Lahore house and the massive rural farm land of KK Harouni, an old feudal landlord whose lands and wealth are slowly being bled away…
Stories We Could TellBy Tony Parsons
The boys are sweet; there is something unspoiled in them, as if they still believe that a world can be changed with the right music. It is London in the time beween the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Woodstock and the newer harder sounds of Kiss and The Clash and The Sex Pistols; the time between long hair, cool hippie-dom, universal love and the skinheads, race riots and unemployment. It is 1977, Elvis is dead and disco is in the air.
Tony Parsons, best known for his lad lit books like Man and Wife, Man and Boy, now writes a quasi-fictional account of his years as a music journalist with NME, that becomes The Paper in his book 'Stories We Could Tell'. It's a story of 3 boys living their dream lives as young music journalists at The Paper, on the day Elvis died. Terry, Ray and Leon are barely out of their teens (Ray is in fact just 17), think their job is the coolest thing in the world and as in the tradition of the young, think this life is go…
Haruki Murakami's Jerusalem Prize Acceptance Speech"I have come to Jerusalem today as a novelist, which is to say as a professional spinner of lies.Of course, novelists are not the only ones who tell lies. Politicians do it, too, as we all know. Diplomats and military men tell their own kinds of lies on occasion, as do used car salesmen, butchers and builders. The lies of novelists differ from others, however, in that no one criticizes the novelist as immoral for telling lies. Indeed, the bigger and better his lies and the more ingeniously he creates them, the more he is likely to be praised by the public and the critics. Why should that be?My answer would be this: Namely, that by telling skillful lies -- which is to say, by making up fictions that appear to be true -- the novelist can bring a truth out to a new location and shine a new light on it. In most cases, it is virtually impossible to grasp a truth in its original form and depict it accurately. This is why we try to …
Pieces of meA bohemia of unabashed colour, on walls, on clothesThe decadence of exotic silk, eastern, striking, brash.
The hoping-to-stop-time red shoes, forbidden red The height of the heel, the inappropriateness of it.
Countless trysts with discipline, will power and Nike
Cut short by sloth, despair, distraction.
Love for a city, for independence, for growing up,A big bad city for making money, for living, for loving.
A million words, good, tolerable, plain bad
Can't-stay-away-from words, not-enough-time-for words.
Kitchen creations, wholesome, soothing, happy-tiring,
Pleasurable from some deep primal inside.

The living in hope, building word castles in the airThe fear, dismissal, dissatisfaction all a part of it.
Tradition and its visible cloakThe flowers and the gold, the rituals and the roots.

All a life unaccounted, formless, everyday ordinary
Floating by in some mysterious significance, I hope.