Mullins, Meg 1972-
Mullins, Meg 1972-
Born 1972, in NM; married; children: two. Education: Barnard College, B.A., 1995; Columbia University, M.F.A.
Home—NM. E-mail—meg[email protected]
The Rug Merchant, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Sonoran Review, Baltimore Review, Iowa Review, and TriQuarterly. "The Rug," originally published in the Iowa Review, was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2002, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2002.
A prolific short-story writer, Meg Mullins first introduced the character of displaced Iranian rug merchant Ushman in "The Rug," published in the Iowa Review. The short story was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2002, but Mullins was just not ready to let this character go. In an interview posted on the author's home page, she commented: "Originally, when I first conceived the short story, the idea was based on a couple of family anecdotes that I conflated into one story…. Then, after finishing the short story, I had fallen in love with Ushman as a character and was compelled by my curiosity to continue writing about him as a man trying to find his way after a devastating divorce." The Rug Merchant continues the story of Ushman, who immigrated to the United States to make a new life for his family, leaving his wife and mother in his native Iran until his business became established. After his wife betrays him and he is left emotionally stranded in his new country, Ushman forges an unlikely relationship with an American college student who is experiencing her own personal sorrows.
Remarking on the process of writing from a cultural perspective seemingly dissimilar to her own, Mullins stated: "I certainly have a great respect for the vast differences in our cultures and our backgrounds, even our genders, but I loved discovering similarities, too. Love and pain, loneliness and desire are universal experiences and we are all linked by them. Stories that I admire are usually those that remind me of the power of empathy, the natural human ability to feel deep emotion for those outside of ourselves." Mullins's expression of Ushman's character drew much critical praise. In a review for Spirituality and Practice, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat described the novel as "a beautifully written and richly satisfying cross-cultural tale of love and transformation." The reviewers further commented: "Mullins has a done a remarkable job conveying the awkwardness that overcomes these two lovers who are separated by age, religion, and nationality." Luan Gaines remarked in a review for Curled Up with a Good Book that "The Rug Merchant is an intricate and nuanced love story, written with a delicate, deft touch." Library Journal reviewer Kellie Gillespie concluded: "Quiet and unassuming, this debut is as rich as the hand-woven rugs Ushman sells."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, March 1, 2006, Kellie Gillespie, review of The Rug Merchant, p. 79.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (May 16, 2007), Luan Gaines, review of The Rug Merchant.
Meg Mullins Home Page,http://www.megmullins.com (May 16, 2007).
Spirituality and Practice,http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ (May 16, 2007), Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, review of The Rug Merchant.