The Moor's Last Sigh is the fifth novel by Salman Rushdie, published in 1995. Set in the Indian cities of Bombay and Cochin, it is the first major work that Rushdie produced after the The Satanic Verses affair, and thus is referential to that circumstance in many ways, especially the isolation of the narrator, as well as the shadow of death that seems constantly to hang over him. It is written in the same style as Midnight's Children, and raises issues of individuality and the possibility of hybridity in a world moving toward singularity.
The title is taken from the story of Boabdil (Abu Abdullah Muhammed), the last Moorish king of Granada, who is also mentioned frequently in the book. The spot from which Boabdil last looked upon Granada after surrendering it is known as Puerto del Suspiro del Moro ("Pass of the Moor's Sigh"). The mother of the narrator and an artist friend of the mother's each make a painting which they call "The Moor's Last Sigh".
The Moor's Last Sigh traces four generations of the narrator's family and the ultimate effects upon the narrator. The narrator, Moraes Zogoiby, traces his family's beginnings down through time to his own lifetime. Moraes, who is called "Moor" throughout the book, is an exceptional character, whose physical body ages twice as fast as a normal person's does and also has a deformed hand. The book also focusses heavily on the Moor's relationships with the women in his life, including his mother Aurora, who is a famous national artist; his first female tutor; and his first love, a charismatic, demented sculptress named Uma
Awards and nominations
The book won the Whitbread Prize for 'Best novel' in 1995, and the Aristeion Prize in 1996. The book was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1995.
The cover artwork for this book is by Dennis Leigh, more widely known as musician and multi-media artist John Foxx