|(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one--a wedding present from her husband--but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it. Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the local news and in backroom deliberations, all fueled by winds of anti-Muslim hysteria.
The Black-Marketer's Daughter was a finalist for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a "complicated and compelling story" of our times, with two key cornerstones of the novel being the unsympathetic voice with which Mallick, almost objectively, relays catastrophic and deeply emotional events, and the unsparing eye with which he illuminates the different angles and conflicting interests at work in a complex situation. The cumulative effects, while deliberately unsettling to readers, nevertheless keeps them glued to the pages out of sheer curiosity about what will happen next.
Wow. What a gripping story. I absolutely LOVED Suman Mallick's novel, The Black-Marketer's Daughter. It is an intense, well-written, and compelling read that you won't be able to put down. I was able to devour this short book in one sitting and let me just say it is so worth putting aside the time to read it. This is the type of story that you need to finish in one go, instead of dipping in and out. Of course, once you start reading you won't be able to stop, so I suppose you'll devour it in one go no matter what.
As for the story...wow. For such a short book, the author certainly packs a lot in: marriage, relationships, domestic violence, the legal system, cultural differences, and religion. You will easily get swept up in the narrative and find yourself caught up in the drama, the emotions, and the outcome of it all. It is a riveting and thought-provoking exploration on the complexities of marriage. Mallick does an amazing job in developing the depth of the story - at first it all seems so simple and then the more you read, the more complex it all becomes. This is one story you won't want to miss out on.
I would definitely recommend Mallic's novel, The Black-Marketer's Daughter to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!