The Moor's Last Sigh
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The first edition
Title and influences
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 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 book draws on a variety of real historical figures and events, including the surrender of Granada by Boabdil, the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the 1993 Bombay bombings, the gangster and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, as well as modern Indian political organizations like Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena.
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 sculptor named Uma. Salman Rushdie mentions William Babington Macauley in this novel.
Awards and nominations
The cover artwork for this book is by Dennis Leigh, more widely known as musician and multi-media artist John Foxx.
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