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The Black-Marketer's Daughter

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  36 reviews
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 confisca ...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published October 13th 2020 by Atmosphere Press
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
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Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
This was another book where I didn’t know what this was about when I requested it, I just thought the title was interesting. This was definitely not for the faintest of hearts, there is a trigger warning of domestic violence which I didn’t see until right now. I think Zuleikha is a strong woman and didn’t deserve to go through what happened to her. Her story hurt my heart. I’m happy with her decision towards the end although I thought the story ended abruptly.
I finished this book in one sitting
Robin Martin
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This 151 page story was easy to read in one day, but lingers for days after as a complicated tale that has the potential to be read in so many different ways depending on the reader. Nothing is simple, certainly not marriage, and certainly not the overlap of cultures. Mallick's language is precise and sharp but also manages to be beautiful.
Dog eared pages:
"In that smile Zuleikha detects the self-satisfied air of someone who's just proven—as if there was any doubt—that he knows more about the r
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Never underestimate the power of the written word.

I was intrigued by this book and wondered what sort of impact it would have on a reader. For anyone that opens their mind to the world within these pages, they will learn about culture, faith, love, despair, confidence, and desperation. But do not go into this book lightly, the stories within are complex and interwoven.

This story follows a young married couple from Pakistan that have settled in the DFW area in Texas. They have traditional roles w
Jess B.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very impressive debut! Kudos to Suman Mallick!

This is a quick, bold book that manages to have your heart go out to many of the characters. Honestly, the ending was a bit abrupt...but I didn't mind because it left the future of these characters up to my imagination and the "good ending" I hope befalls them all.

I enjoyed reading this book and can't wait to read more by the author. Anyone who puts "braggadocious" and references to the movie "Frances Ha" has me hooked. I didn't expect the complex fe
Kristen Ludwigsen
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gripping and emotional story
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
Thank you to the author, Atmosphere Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This debut novel is short but complex, and tackles a difficult subject. It's well-written, simple on the surface, revealing depth as it progresses, and it packs a punch. The tone is empathetic, without coddling - you sense the protagonist's hesitation, disappointment and the agonizing choices she faces. The ending is quite abrupt, and I wish parts of the story had been more elaborated upon, but al
Camille Pum
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in the giveaway! Lovingly written, this story will haunt my thoughts of romance and pianists for some time.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first part has made me so engrossed into the story, and I just read it continuously without any knowledge of what is happening around me. After I finished the first part of the story, I wanted to straight away jump into the second part. I can't wait to know what is the ending. And I was surprised that this is the author's debut novel because the storytelling and the writing are so compelling and convincing.

The current ending was quite random and irrelevant to me. I mean I can't see the poin
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For such a short novel, Suman Mallick's Black-Marketer's Daughter is extremely complex.
This fast paced page-turner mixes culture, religion, the legal system and victim's rights into a gripping story.
The highly emotional content may be too overwhelming for some readers. However, I found it to be a compelling and well written read.
Overall, it is an original and praiseworthy debut novel that I recommend - with caution of graphic domestic violence triggers.
*Thank you NetGalley, Atmosphere Press and
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Men are pigs, and that’s all you need to know. You’ll root for Zukeikha, the artistic, fanciful 29-year-old Pakistani woman whose condescending yet dutiful husband, Iskander, nearly kills her in a fit of jealous rage. What she does next will keep you turning the pages in spite of the long-winded monologues toward the book’s end, which feel preachy and overdone. Poetry by Omar Khayyam is sprinkled throughout, heightening the pleasure of this well-written, highly emotional—and brief—tale.
Zuzu Burford
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
For a debut novel, Suman Mallick has chosen a tough subject and succeeds where many have failed, With empathy for women that suffer domestic violence and a complete understanding of the legal procedures a gripping and rewarding storey evolves.
With different groups either religious or legal that became involved in the drama with their own agendas add to a complex and most enjoyable read and highly recommended.
This is an independent review for NetGalley / Atmosphere Press.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This beautifully written novel imagines the life of Zuleikha, a Pakistani pianist who comes to America for an arranged marriage that falls apart over five or six years. When the novel begins, Zuleikha and her new husband, Iskander, are shopping for wedding gifts—a car and a piano—near their home in Irving, Texas. Zuleikha is happy to finally be getting the car and piano, but to say she is happy in her new marriage wouldn’t be quite right. Iskander often smirks when Zuleikha shares her thoughts w ...more
Grass monster
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Blurb :
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 t
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Nicely written novel on a difficult topic. What happens when a personal issue goes public and various groups, legal and religious, with their own agendas, start pushing you in opposite directions?
That's what happens to Zuleikha who gets married to Iskander and moves to Texas with him.
Living a stable if bland life, Zuleikha takes a step which lands her in the middle of a situation that she is unable to control.
I couldn't help feeling that she was made a victim without considering her own role tho
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love the story of the "other" in society with his/her quest in attaining self-determination.
This started with the enlightenment with those fabulous epistolary novels that gave a voice and identity to the invisibles The fictitious exchanges between the authors and addresees of Montesquieu , Diderot and Laclos were pivotal in unveiling truths. Mallick's protagonist comes to enlightenment by carving her own destiny and doesnt compromise her value of self...and just possibly could she be a beacon
Trick Wiley
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow,what a story! I have seen what happens when a Muslim is a wife or daughter and doesn't do what her husband or father tells her and brings shame but to actually read about it! Suman Mallick writes a story about behaviour as a wife in a arranged marriage and how her life is in America! Full of suspense, history and drama of this woman's life and as she tries to please but what about her feelings and falling in love for the first time and it's not her husband. Follow this life and love and see ...more
Shannan Harper
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful and well written story. I see how the author has won awards. It was masterfully written and very enjoyable. I also noticed several things while reading it. Like Christianity, some men use the book they believe in order to control and bully women. Also it was refreshing and kind of a shock how well the woman's perspective and story was told, although this book was written by a man. Although it ended differently than I expected, I understand why it ended the way it did. Some p ...more
Robin Speer
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thrilling contemporary story of migrations and cultures. Profound development of the main character Zuleikha, on her journey from quiet piano-loving bride from Pakistan, through a heart-thumping/blood-curdling major incident in the US, into a great heroine finally forging her own independent path in Texas with her young son. Highly recommended new read! (And perfect novel length!)
Janis Castaneda
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic debut book

The author effectively captures the imagery and emotions experienced by the main character and her journey towards her true self.
Irene Marston
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
so very sad the way her life went from start to finish
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Suman Mallick's debut novel The Black-Marketer's Daughter is more than just a story. It's a sonata that unfolds one movement at a time, in lyrical language that compels, frustrates, infuriates, and finally delights the reader. It's a portrait of the culture-within-a-culture of Muslim Pakistani immigrants to the United States, and specifically North Texas (where I also live) that exposes the harsh reality of assimilating into American society, of being a modern immigrant, and, yes, of the status ...more
Ruthie Jones
“But whenever you talk about leaving things better for your kids, you have to define what’s better, don’t you?”

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter is Suman Mallick's interesting and thoughtful debut novel about the luxury of having the freedom of choice in the United States, even for women born in a different country and still expected to live under their homeland’s customs and restrictions. Pakistani-born Zuleikha lives in Irving, Texas, with her American husband, Iskander Khan. While the marriage wa
Lorilei Gonzales
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Black-Marketer’s Daughter by Suman Mallick is the type of book that surprised me in every good way imaginable. I purposefully do not read other reviews or blurbs on books that I intend to review so that my viewpoint is entirely my own. It is only after I read the last page and sat for several minutes absorbing the story and my feelings about it that I allowed myself to know more about the book and its author. I was shocked to find out that Mallick was a man.

I know that sounds sexist or somet
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Black-Marketer’s Daughter brings to light some nuances of a culture unknown to many of us. Its theme is somewhat dark, taking on the subject of spousal abuse and its aftermath.

Zuleikha, the protagonist, begins as a young woman from Pakistan. She has just undergone an arranged marriage in her native country, and she now arrives in Irving, Texas, with her American husband, Iskander. She seems to adapt nicely to an American lifestyle. Her new husband dotes on her, and she soon gives birth to a
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Maryann by: Lone Star Literary Life
Reading this book was a terrific way to gain insight and understanding of Muslim culture and traditions, and I really appreciated the opportunity to be immersed in a different way of life. I like this kind of story that helps broaden my worldview. It's so important for us to understand each other and not just accept the stereotypes of people and cultures too often presented in news or on social media.

Zuleikha is not always a likable character if we look at her purely from the standpoint of how m
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
“The world is what you make it,” Thomas said.

The Black Marketer’s Daughter is a short, debut novel by Suman Mallick. While this book is small the story within its pages is complex with various themes of culture, religion, adultery, and marriage. But the story is so much more…

Here’s why. I remember the first money I received from giving my first piano lesson to a young girl. So, the main character, Zuleikha, is very relatable when it comes to her piano. I also fondly recall how my piano gave me
Pamela Scott
copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed


I’d never heard of the author before. I decided to read the book as it’s well outside my comfort zone. I mostly enjoyed it. It’s a well written novel that hooked me from the start and held my attention until the end. Well, almost. The book is let down a little by the ending which though hopeful, offers no real resolution. This let the book down a little. I felt the book was very short which cou
I was intrigued by the concept of a Pakistani woman having an affair as I have never read it in English translation or an English language book.

Zulaikha's character is very flat as is her husband's whose only descriptor is that he has a "sly smile".

My problem with this book was not the topic itself, it’s the fact that it was incredibly rushed.

She doesn’t seem to care or understand the consequences of her actions and the shock and horror they cause in the lives of others.

The first part shows an i
Thomas Bazar
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Mallick is a strong writer. His muscular prose captures this equally muscular story. It is a tale of clashing cultures and a young lady stuck in the middle of a warped American Dream. It's oil and water. She's trying to find her way. Her family life and piano dreams compete for her attention. What happens next is shocking and disturbing. It is exactly the type of story that captivates this reader. Bravo, Mr. Mallick, for taking a big risk with this work! ...more
Daphne Manning
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
A young Muslim woman is married and settles with her husband in Texas. Marriage at its best is an adjustment but doing so in a foreign country is an added challenge. Sensing his wife’s unease the husband arranged for her to have a piano which evolves into the wife starting to give lessons. It is lessons with a neighbor that leads to conflict within the marriage. Here is a lesson in assimilation on a very personal lesson with terrifying consequences.
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Suman Mallick's debut novel 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.
It is now available from Atmosphere Press.​

Suman is the Assistant Managing Editor of Under the Gum Tree, a quarterly literary magazine. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Portland State University,

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