Task 3D: Novel opening of "The Rug Merchant"

Here, you are invited to read the opening of the novel “The Rug Merchant” by Meg Mullins. You are also asked to discuss how effective the opening of the novel is, as well as what you learn about the two main characters and the relationship between them.

Summary: “The Rug Merchant”

“The Rug Merchant” was published in 2006 as the debut novel of writer Meg Mullins. The opening of the novel introduces us to Ushman Khan, a rug-merchant who sells his rugs to the wealthy New York clients. He is called to the apartment of Mrs. Roberts, a woman who has previously asked him to furnish all the rooms with expensive carpets. Ushman dislikes being there and recalls how Mrs. Roberts kept on making him struggle while showing off different carpets for different rooms. When Mrs. Roberts arrives, she tells Ushman that she wants a new rug and that she called him there specifically to remind him of the space in the room. Annoyed, Ushman reminds her that she cannot get a refund for the old rug and that there will never be a more suitable rug for the room. However, Mrs. Roberts signals him to shut up.


The opening of the novel “The Rug Merchant” is very effective because it introduces readers to the main characters from the very beginning. Their backgrounds are also very clear, which gives us a better view of their nature.

Ushman Khan

Ushman Khan lives in New York, where he sells expensive rugs for the wealthy New York clients. He is married, but his wife does not live with him:

They are comforting to him, each one reminding him of his wife. She is still in Tabriz, where she selects and commissions hand-knotted wool and silk carpets and woven kilim from the women ...

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