The Black Coat is a stark and occasionally cryptic novel that revisits a harsh time with unflinching candour. —Toronto Star
Table of Contents
- About the Author
- Contact Details
- Social Links
- Download Photographs
- Sell Sheet
- Sales Copy: for newsletters, emails, blog posts
- Interview Topics
- Promotion Info
About the Author
SHORT BIO: NEAMAT IMAM is a Bangladeshi author of literary fiction. He lives in Alberta, Canada. His first novel, THE BLACK COAT, became a CBC Best Book of the Year, and a Quill & Quire Best Debut Novel of the Year in 2016.
LONG BIO: NEAMAT IMAM grew up in Chandpur, Bangladesh, and immigrated to Canada in 2006. He attended Dhaka University for an MA in English Literature and Aristotle University for a PhD in Theatre Studies. His first novel, THE BLACK COAT, became a CBC Best Book of the Year, and a Quill & Quire Best Debut Novel of the Year in 2016. It was praised by the Sunday Guardian as ‘the gold standard for any book which seeks to engage with South Asian politics or history’. He has adapted John Osborne and Edward Bond for Bangladesh Television, and he has published two novellas, two plays and a book of poetry in Bengali. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife, Wenshu He, and their two children.
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- CBC Best Book of the Year 2016
- Quill & Quire Best Debut Novel of the Year 2016
TITLE: The Black Coat
AUTHOR: Neamat Imam
GENRE: Literary/historical novel
FORMATS AVAILABLE: Hardcover, Paperback
NUMBER OF PAGES: Hardcover: 240 pages; Paperback: 340 pages
HARDCOVER ISBN-13: 978-0670086658
PAPERBACK ISBN-13: 978-1859640067
FIRST PUBLISHED: Hardcover, May 2013
PAPERBACK: May 2015
SHORT SYNOPSIS: A dark and dystopian portrait of Bangladesh under prime minister Sheikh Mujib
LONG SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of Bangladesh’s bloody war of independence in 1971, as thousands of migrants from the countryside flood the capital, journalist Khaleque Biswas begins to feel the stirrings of disillusionment. The revolutionary spirit that had filled the air and united the people under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib, the “Father of the Nation”, seems to be dissipating. The government’s response to the crisis is inadequate, and the country’s slow slide into political corruption seems inevitable. Uncompromising and undiplomatic, Khaleque soon loses his job. Then Nur Hussain turns up: a simple young man from a remote village, his welfare has been entrusted to Khaleque by a passing acquaintance. Unable to turn Nur away, Khaleque sets out to secure him a job, but discovers that the placid fellow has no skills whatsoever, nor much ambition. He seems adept only at impersonating Sheikh Mujib, to whom he bears some resemblance – and as the masses flock to him, the authorities take notice …
INDEPENDENT, UK: A study of the inspiration and limitation of words, the corrupting influence of power, the dangers of charisma, and a call to question accepted versions of events, Imam’s [novel] becomes a compelling tale of absurdist humour reminiscent of Bohumil Hrabal … A notable contribution to a chapter of recent history too often forgotten.
SUNDAY GUARDIAN, INDIA: The last time I read a novel which affected my idea of the past to this extent was The Blind Assassin… I suspect that THE BLACK COAT will be used —again and again — as the gold standard for any book which seeks to engage with South Asian politics or history.
TORONTO STAR, CANADA: THE BLACK COAT is a stark and occasionally cryptic novel that revisits a harsh time with unflinching candour.
ASIAN REVIEW OF BOOKS, HONG KONG, CHINA: Neamat Imam’s first novel, THE BLACK COAT, is pure satire, written with such disarming earnestness that one might neglect to shake it down and dissect its numerous layers … [it] is a profile of the very worst things about human nature.
Sales Copy: for newsletters, emails, blog posts
“Bangladeshi author Neamat Imam has published a chilling novel based on the tortured origins of modern Bangladesh.”
“Intense yet chilling, Neamat Imam’s brilliant first novel is a meditation on power, greed and the human cost of the politics.”
“THE BLACK COAT provides a poignant backdrop to a central drama that Dostoyevsky and Kafka would have applauded.”
“THE BLACK COAT is one of the best novels to come out of the subcontinent in the recent past.”
“The Black Coat is not just a truth-seeking historical tract in disguise. It is a novel about the idea of the simulacrum and doubles, about power crafted out of con jobs and pretence, about the theatre of politics.” – writes Indrajit Hazra in Outlook India
“An unreliable narrator, a cult of personality, and an angry author”
For more reviews, visit neamatimam.com/REVIEWS
Wednesday, 17 March. Hundreds, thousands, of my countrymen are on the road today. They are marching towards the city’s central public square, where the Awami League – Sheikh Mujib’s party – has organised a massive, open-air ceremony on the anniversary of his birth. The Awami League-run government, which has declared Sheikh Mujib ‘Father of the Bengali Nation’, has deployed an extravagant number of security personnel to maintain order. They are guarding local street corners, nearby motorway intersections and strategically important rooftops, and stopping vehicles to look for dangerous items. Hundreds of party workers are assisting them; they carry rods, pipes, batons and bamboo sticks, and apply them regularly to anyone who appears to be unruly or suspicious. Dozens of loudspeakers mounted on electricity poles announce the arrival of national leaders and intellectuals, as well as acclaimed singers and musicians who will perform after the speeches.
As I sit at the stairs of the Shaheed Minar and look at the posters, festoons and banners I think back on a different time. I hear a distinctively trenchant voice: ‘You have betrayed us! You have betrayed us!’ It was thirty-five years ago. He was a part of my soul: a brilliant man, an immaculate heart.
- Bangladesh War of Independence
- Bangladesh Politics: Past and Present
- Democratic Authoritarianism in Bangladesh
- Militarism in Bangladesh
- Life of an Immigrant
- Censorship in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh 1974: Great Famine
- Fundamentalism in Bangladesh
- Border, Identity & Culture
- Identity, Nationalism & Diaspora
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