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The Black Coat

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  26 reviews
It is the 1970s. After a bloody struggle, Bangladesh is an independent nation. But thousands are pouring into Dhaka from all over the country, looking for food and shelter. Amongst them is Nur Hussain, an uneducated young man from a remote village, who is only good at mimicking a famous speech of the prime minister’s. He turns up at journalist Khaleque Biswas’s doorstep, s ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 240 pages
Published May 15th 2013 by Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Books India
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  83 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it
In the guise of politics , it is one man's personal philosophical battle. While the premise and the starting of this historical fiction was very good, sadly the writing slowly gets sloppier up to the point where it becomes excruciating. At the beginning I was genuinely intrigued by the lead characters but by the middle of the book they become incomprehensible and I could not care less for any of them. Kudos to the writer for having chosen a subject which is generally considered taboo,better-forg ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
পটেনশিয়ালের শ্রাদ্ধ এই বই জুড়ে। চমৎকার কয়েকটা দৃশ্য, মূল চরিত্রটা তো চরিত্রের পোয়াবারো, কিন্তু লেখা একেবারেই বাজে হইছে, আর বইয়ের গল্পটা হয়া গেছে দোআঁশলা। এইরকম হতাশাজনক ফিনালে সম্পাদকের চোখ এড়ায়ে গেছে, লেখার কিছু অংশ বোঝা যায় না, সেগুলিও কোনো না কোনোভাবে তার নজর এড়ায়ে গেছে। হয়তো বাংলায় লিখলে ভালো করতেন ইনি, কানাডায় বসবাস করলেই ইংরেজী চমৎকার হবে, এমন কোনো কথা তো নাই।
টপিক দুর্দান্ত, রুশদীর মুখে ছুড়ে দেয়ার মতো। একজন লোক, যে আপনার নেতার ভাষণ বিক্রি করে খাচ্ছে। কিন্তু, ঐ যে বললাম, লেখ
Tariqul Ponir
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
What to say about a book that says in its cover, "A dark dystopian portrait of Bangladesh under Prime Minister Sheikh Mujib"?
The thing to learn from this line is that there is a very high probability of getting hurt if you are a Sheikh Mujib fan but may find it intensely pleasing if you psyche is the other way around. Now that I've read it I have a lot of question about the authenticity of some of the data I came to know. Let me see the book through the eye of a foreigner, the way I read books a
Animesh Mitra
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Dystopian Masterpiece! South Asian Equivalent to 1984 of George Orwell. This Novel is about Orwellian dictatorship of Mujibur Rahman the founding father of Bangladesh. After liberating his Bengali people from Punjabi colonial rule, getting independence for his land by a civil savage war with the pledge to make it a secular democracy, Mujib broke his promise and convert himself into a power hungry authoritarian despot. Mujib raped democracy, banned all political parties left, right, center; And ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an intriguing read! This parody and/or morality tale critiques the "father of Bangladesh." I thought I had known a good amount about Bangladesh and the war for its independence but I appreciated reading this book to stretch or revise some notions I had held.

The book creates an innovative tool or springboard from which to reveal some history. As I read this, the story crept up slowly and then grabbed me. Its hold was solid and assured. The writing is confident and very clever. I would defini
Emma Griffiths
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and picked it up knowing absolutely nothing about Bangladesh or it's Political history.

The book is about a charismatic leader who takes control of a state. However, Once in power, We realise that he has no intention to act in the interest of the people that he is supposed to be representing. This is something that is all too familiar in the world of politics. Therefore, I found the story all too easy to relate to.

This is an extremely haunting tale, That I
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finishing reading this book I couldn't find anything to say about it - it seemed surreal and crazy and violent and then suddenly everything calms down. It is fascinating what is going on in the book, and it's very well written, and I'll be reading it again and will write a longer review after I've done so. ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc
Very thankful this was assigned for class- don't think I would have read it otherwise and it was a very compelling portrayal of political idolatry, morality, and nationalism in a setting I do not read often from. ...more
Khalid Mahbub
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book that describes the psyche of all traumatized post-colonial nations coming to terms with its own pitiful existence. A fiction more real than all the crafted history of failed dictatorships brutally struggling to survive. A truth so raw one cannot understand it unless one lives through it. Kudos to Imam Neamat. You have given future generations the answer that questions all of this madness. And from it the solution that shall be self-evident.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
a psychological narrative of post-independence bangladeshi politics. the personal as political.

although i was very much intrigued by the trajectory of Khaleque and Nur both as individuals and within their relationship, the lack of place and at times plot left me wanting for more. it was a slow read and the dialogue, too, felt burdensome.
Paul Williams
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
It meanders but it's an interesting world to meander in. Politics is nearly depoliticized - treated like a job in a place and time where jobs are scarce. (Also on ...more
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
A promising plot but the writing left much to be desired.
David Grieve
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story revolves around the birth of Bangladesh as a nation and its first leader, Sheik Mujib. It is told through the eyes of a journalist (Biswas) who loses his job on the Freedom Fighter newspaper and has to find another way of making money in an increasingly desperate country.

The story gets progressively more surreal as Biswas takes in Nur Hussain and finds a truly bizarre line of work for them to make money. His relationship with Nur is the core of the story as it ebbs and flows as does hi
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Short Version: I would rate this story between 3 and half to four stars. It is a political story and written in the first person. It may appeal to a lot of people who love politics.

Long Version: I would rate this story between 3 and half to four stars. The writing while overall good has some strange formatting issues that I suppose could be a style choice but I have never seen it before. The first paragraph of every chapter isn't indented, which seems strange. Another thing I personally don't li
Oct 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Gives a general idea into how Mujib ran his government; true chilling facts. If you are reading the book for the sake of knowing the facts only, The entire book is summarized in the last three chapters! And it only focuses on the 1974 famine history, which is a taboo subject even among the current opposition parties. Not much can be found about the atrocities of "Rokkhi Bahini"

For the fictional part, I found some of the dialogues over dramatic; and sometimes the characters didn't even sound Bang
Octavio Saviano
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just finished this. Amazing. The protagonist is a journalist, who utilizes his protege to earn money during the time of a devastating famine in Bangladesh. The book is like a fable. It is absolutely Orwellian. Politics is at its core, but politics is not the main issue; it is only the outer shell. Inside politics there is a world of deception and fraud, repression and regret. Not many novels I know of have mixed the public with the private so skillfully.

Imam writes in small sentences. His prose
Aurnab Arc
Oct 05, 2013 is currently reading it
Obviously, no one can do that for you or make you know what you don't want to know. You must exercise your free will to do so. No one can make you accountable for your thoughts or make you reason through this explanation for you. You've got to think about it on your own, and discern in your own soul how this explanation checks out. If it has the ring of true to it, take it as your guide.Since the dawn of representation we are in an era of text. However we could not but forget the foggy and smogg ...more
Arafat Hassan
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think it's the 1st time that a writer has taken an anarchist and analytic approach on our history of post 70's. In the present political context of Bangladesh, it is a must read for the ones that think about the future of this country. The style is unique and reflects he has successfully mastered the art of projecting words in his own way. About the content, I have to say it was royally explosive in the beginning, but I felt rewarded as I went on. It is a political thriller that we always need ...more
Ravi Jain
Most of us in India, remember 1971 as the year in which we had fought a war with Pakistan. We do not realise the importance of that war, which led to the birth of a new nation, a new neighbour – Bangladesh. This book, set in the nascent period of Bangladeshi independence, is a satire on the Mujib government of that time.

Full review of The Black Coat on
Shayda Dastgir
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
The book was a riveting read, but not sure it should necessarily be relied on as a credible source of facts: case in point: it claims that 1.5 million died in the famine, vs less than 300,000 that were killed in the 1971 liberation war. However, the most often fatality count for the war is 3 million.

Plot was extremely engaging, but the language in some bits left something to be desired, and a few of the dialogues were a tad melodramatic for my liking.
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Passion and idealism jump out of the pages of Neamat Imam's dark satire on a new born nation. The fall of any great leader is but the denouement of his rise. A journalist fighting the unholy trinity of ambition, idealism and the will to survive discovers the reality about the illusion of freedom. Brilliantly done! ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Started off strong, and kept that pace and intensity till the middle, with very powerful metaphors that reflect certain aspects of that period of history. Though it ends well too, reading the latter half of the book was tiresome.
Pat Elvidge
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Thankyou to the publisher and goodreads for the book for the chance to read this book
This is a very well written book and delves into issues involving deception it's much more than a political book
I would recommended this book to family and friends
A fantastic 4 stars
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating portrait of patriotic internal struggle in a country born out of civil war.
আকিব সাতিল
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the book which can give a clear idea of the Mujib regime and the atrocities done by his name. A must read for every Bangladeshis.
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Review of The Black Coat 2 13 Aug 24, 2013 03:19PM  

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Neamat Imam is a Bangladeshi author based in Canada. His first novel, The Black Coat, was first published by Penguin Books India in 2013. It was published in 2015 by Periscope Books in Britain. It is a dystopian portrait of Bangladesh under Prime Minister Sheikh Mujib and a "dark political satire fuelled by anger and absurdist humour" (Independent). In a review, Outlook India called the novel "an ...more

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