The Black-Marketer's Daughter Book Tour & Giveaway



Suman Mallick
Category: Contemporary / Literary Fiction / Multicultural
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 166 pages

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.


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"Mallick offers an impressively realistic depiction of a woman caught between tradition, family, and her own sense of empowerment." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"The Black-Marketer's Daughter is a key-hole look at a few things: a mismatched marriage, the plight of immigrants in the U.S., the emotional toll of culture shock, and the brutal way Muslim women are treated, especially by men within their own community. Titling it—defining the heroine by her relationship to a man rather than as a woman in her own right—suggests how deeply ingrained that inequality can be." ~ IndieReader Reviews

"The Black-Marketer's Daughter is the portrait of a woman who endures violence, intimidation, xenophobia and grief, and yet refuses to be called a victim. In this slender novel, Suman Mallick deftly navigates the funhouse maze of immigrant life in contemporary America—around each corner the possibility of a delight, a terror, or a distorted reflection of oneself." ~ Matthew Valentine, Winner, Montana Prize for Fiction; Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin

Interview with Suman Mallick


What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

I write at home (no Starbucks for me). As a self-imposed challenge, I did try writing in cafes while on a week-long trip to Argentina, but eventually gave up. I’m a pacer when thinking through something about work or writing or life in general, and it’s easier to do that in my own home without drawing strange stares or generally pissing people off.

 Apart from my MFA years, I’ve always had a day job in an unrelated field, which means I only write at night in my home office after my child goes to bed, or on weekends when I can make time. Occasionally I’ll take a pause to listen to music while working out the next section in my head, but otherwise I write without distractions and try to save the music and perhaps a drink to calm down from the rush of finishing something.

 Naturally, it’s important that my writing spot is a sanctuary. It’s the first room that I set up in my house, and probably the only place where I know how to find everything in it.

 What cultural value do you see in books?

In 2012, in an article bemoaning a decision by the Pulitzer Prize Board that no winner was selected for the fiction prize that year, the writer Ann Patchett said about the importance of reading fiction that “it is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings.” I am living testament to that statement. Reading books written by authors whose origins and subject matters are completely unfamiliar to myself has taken me to a place in life where I no longer view any person and their way of life–no matter how peculiar it may be–with disparagement, but only with curiosity. It’s what made me, an Indian-American man, to dare to write from the point of view of a Pakistani woman.


What do you like to read in your free time?

Almost anything and everything: apart from fiction and poetry by writers from the world over, I read a lot of history, religion, politics, economics, books, and articles about writing and writers, interviews and book reviews, general nonfiction, and memoirs, parenting, psychology, philosophy—you name it. In fiction, I used to read mostly novels, but that’s changed somewhat over time and I’ve come to love and appreciate short and flash fiction more and more over time.  Lately, because the pandemic has forced me to read a lot more work-related documents, I’ve focused my writing (and therefore naturally my reading, too) on shorter pieces of work. I’m not going to name any names though as far as my favorite writers go because I’ve learned that in the world or writers, that’s an easy way to get in trouble these days.  


 Who are some of the authors, you feel were influential in your work? 

I’ll limit the answer to this question to this particular book, because I really stopped reading most of what I usually read until that point and started reading other things in order to gain the perspective that I felt was needed to write from a woman’s point of view. So over the course of a year when I first wrote this book, I read about sixty books by primarily women authors and with female protagonists, all the way from well-known stalwarts to younger and perhaps a little lesser-known writer.  A few names that jump to mind right now are: Alice Munro, Renata Adler, Lydia Davis, Willa Cather, Elena Ferrante, Bapsi Sidhwa, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Claire Messud like Téa Obreht, Jennifer Dubois, Diana Abu-Jaber, Sue Kaufman, Shanthi Sekaran, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Sadia Shepherd.


Suman Mallick
received his MFA from Portland State University and is the assistant managing editor of the quarterly literary magazine Under the Gum Tree. He lives in Texas.


or visit the blogs directly:



Hall Ways Blog



The Clueless Gent


Guest Post

Momma on the Rocks



Forgotten Winds


Author Interview

All the Ups and Downs






Texas Book Lover


Author Interview

That's What She's Reading



It's Not All Gravy



Chapter Break Book Blog



StoreyBook Reviews


Scrapbook Page

The Page Unbound


Author Interview

KayBee's Book Shelf



Reading by Moonlight



Missus Gonzo

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  1. Some excellent author recommendations from Mallick in here. Thanks for the post!


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