Monday, June 8, 2009

Daniyal Mueenuddin: R.K. Narayan of Pakistan?

"He has been hailed as the R.K. Narayan of Pakistan, and to a large extent he fits the bill. Daniyal Mueenuddin’s collection of superb short stories (In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Random House) evokes the sounds and smells of feudal Pakistan with exquisite delicacy and understatement—much like Narayan. There is, however, one crucial difference. In none of Narayan’s fiction do we have a hint of sexual love, much less sexual intercourse. That was no part of the R.K. Narayan territory. Meanwhile, in Mueenuddin’s universe, sex is rampant, but always between the master and the maid, the powerful and the powerless. It is passionless sex, sketched casually and in passing. No intimacy, just the functional missionary position. And it’s quickly over."

Guess who writes this? No professional reviewer. He's a famous Indian editor with great lierary taste - something unusual for his kind of species. Yes, it's Vinod Mehta.

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