The Black CoatBook - 2015
"A compelling tale of absurdist humour reminiscent of Bohumil Hrabal ... A notable contribution to a chapter of recent history too often forgotten"-- The Independent
In the aftermath of Bangladesh's bloody war of independence in 1971, as thousands of migrants flood the capital, journalist Khaleque Biswas begins to feel the stirrings of disillusionment. The revolutionary spirit that had united the people under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib, the "Father of the Nation," is dissipating. The government's response to the crisis is inadequate, and the country is sliding into political corruption.
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 attempts to secure him a job, but discovers that the placid fellow has no skills or ambition. He seems adept only at impersonating Sheikh Mujib, to whom he bears some resemblance. When the masses begin flocking to him, the authorities take notice - with shocking results.
This absurdist tour de force from a born storyteller brings to life the tortured origins of modern Bangladesh, animated by humor as dark as the iconic outerwear of the title.
Neamat Imam is a Bangladeshi Canadian writer living in Edmonton. He holds a PhD in theater studies and has taught English at universities in Bangladesh. He has authored a play, a collection of poetry, and two novellas in Bengali. The Black Coat is his first novel.