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The Resource The Moor's account : a novel, Laila Lalami

The Moor's account : a novel, Laila Lalami

Label
The Moor's account : a novel
Title
The Moor's account
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Laila Lalami
Title variation
Moors account
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America--a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril--navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition's treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes's Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers
Storyline
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Hurston/Wright Legacy Award: Fiction, 2015.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2014
Review
  • In her acclaimed previous work, including Secret Son (2009), Lalami depicts in exquisite prose the tumultuous, complex lives of contemporary Moroccans. In her second novel, she delves into history, landing among treacherous Atlantic voyages and the lavish, imagined riches of New Spain in 1527. In this tale of adventure narrated by a Moorish slave called Estebanico by his master, the opportunist Andrés Dorantes, Lalami reimagines one infamous expedition to Florida led by the Spanish conquistador, Pánfilo de Narváez. The ill-fated journey results in hundreds of men obsessed with promises of gold and glory dying horribly by disease, hunger, and brutal clashes with indigenous tribes. Only Estebanico and a few others survive the initial incursion, and they are soon taken captive by natives. Estebanico’s account alternates between this disastrous mission and his past as a merchant, with the two threads combining to create a deeply layered, complex portrait of all-too-familiar characters in an unfamiliar world. The result is a totally engrossing and captivating novel that reconsiders the overlooked roles of Africans in New World exploration. -- Báez, Diego (Reviewed 08-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 22, p45)
  • /* Starred Review */ Lalami's second novel (after Secret Son) is historical fiction of the first-order, a gripping tale of Spanish exploration in the New World set in the years 1527 to 1536, as told by a Muslim slave. Meticulously researched, the novel is told in the first-person by a Moor, Mustafa al-Zamori, called Estebanico by his Spanish master, Andres Dorantes, recounting the disastrous Narvaez expedition into Florida, the Land of the Indians. Estebanico is an educated man, sold into slavery years before, now struggling to survive in an inhospitable land, beset by hostile Indians, disease, and starvation. Greed and the lust for gold leads to unwise leadership decisions on the part of the Spanish, resulting in the deaths of most of the expedition members. Four survivors, Estebanico and three Spaniards, wander for eight years, from Florida and Texas to New Mexico and Arizona, under the constant threat of death and living on the scant generosity of various Indian tribes. Eventually, Estebanico and the Spaniards develop skills as healers, earning respect and powerful reputations, even marrying Indian women and embracing Indian culture and lifestyle. As Estebanico dreams of his freedom from slavery, he clearly understands that explorers Cortes and Coronado are only interested in conquest and empire. This is a colorful but grim tale of Spanish exploration and conquest, marked by brutality, violence, and indifference to the suffering of native peoples. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed September 15, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 37, p)
  • Lalami's meticulously researched yet extraordinarily readable account of the first black man to explore the New World begins in Azemmur, Morocco. Mustafa ibn Muhammed was born into a devout, professional family, but he eschewed schooling for the excitement of the souks (African marketplace) and the lure of easy money working the slave trade. But when drought and famine decimate Azemmur, Mustafa sells himself into slavery in a desperate bid to save his family from starvation. His enslaver, Andrés Dorantes, gives him the Castilian name Estebanico. Together they set sail under the leadership of Pánfilo de Narváez on a quest to claim the southeast coast of what's now the Gulf Coast of the United States for Spain. A man named Estebanico was actually one of four survivors out of 600 men and women who planned to settle in La Florida. This fictional account of his eight-year struggle to earn his freedom, survive the inhospitable climate, battle the hypocrisies of his own countrymen and the suspicions of the various native tribes they relied upon for food and shelter, rings of authenticity. VERDICT Lalami, whose novel Secret Son was nominated for an Orange Prize, offers readers a marvelous piece of old-fashioned storytelling rife with contemporary themes, from greed and plunder to cross-cultural understanding and assimilation. [See Prepub Alert, 3/31/14.]— Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL --Sally Bissell (Reviewed July 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 12, p77)
  • /* Starred Review */ Assured, lyrical imagining of the life of one of the first African slaves in the New World—a native, like Lalami (Secret Son, 2009, etc.), of Morocco and, like her, a gifted storyteller. The Spanish called him Estebanico, a name bestowed on him after he was purchased from Portuguese traders. That datum comes several pages after he proudly announces his true name, "Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-Zamori," and after he allows that some of the stories he is about to tell may or may not be quite true owing to the vagaries of memory and—well, the unlikelihood of the events he describes. The overarching event of this kind is, of course, the shipwreck that leaves him, with a body of Spanish explorers whose number will eventually be whittled down to three, to walk across much of what is now the American Southwest. Led by Álvar NÃoñez Cabeza de Vaca, "my rival storyteller," the quartet encounters wondrous things and people: cities of mud brick, maidens draped with turquoise, abundant "skins, amulets, feathers, copper bells," and always the promise of gold just beyond the horizon. They provide wonders in return: Estebanico is a source of exotic entertainment ("It was harmless fun to them, but to me it quickly grew tiresome"), while his fellow traveler Andrés Dorantes de Carranza sets broken bones and heals the sick. Lalami extends the stories delivered by Cabeza de Vaca himself in his Naufragios, which has been rendered in several English-language editions (e.g., We Came Naked and Barefoot; Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America; Castaways), but hers is certainly the most extensive telling of the tale from "the Moor's" point of view. As elusive as gold, she tells us, is the promise of freedom for Estebanico, who provides the very definition of long-suffering. She has great fun, too, with the possibilities of a great historical mystery—namely, whatever became of him? Adding a new spin to a familiar story, Lalami offers an utterly believable, entertainingly told alternative to the historical record. A delight.(Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10321631
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1968-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lalami, Laila
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3612.A543
LC item number
M66 2014
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Balboa, Vasco Núñez de
  • Narváez, Pánfilo de
  • Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar
  • America
  • America
  • Morocco
Label
The Moor's account : a novel, Laila Lalami
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Control code
000053396088
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
323 pages
Isbn
9780307911667
Isbn Type
(cloth: alk. paper)
Lccn
2013045255
Other control number
40023995332
Specific material designation
regular print
System control number
(OCoLC)864676623
Label
The Moor's account : a novel, Laila Lalami
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Control code
000053396088
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
323 pages
Isbn
9780307911667
Isbn Type
(cloth: alk. paper)
Lccn
2013045255
Other control number
40023995332
Specific material designation
regular print
System control number
(OCoLC)864676623

Library Locations

    • Margaret Martin LibraryBorrow it
      Level 1, Royal Randwick Shopping Centre, Randwick, NSW, 2031, AU
      -33.9151421 151.2408898
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