The Moor's Account: A Novel

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 9, 2014 - Fiction - 336 pages
14 Reviews
**Longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize**
**Nominated for the 2016 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award**

A Pulitzer Prize Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book
A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Book of the Year
An NPR Great Read of 2014
A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year


In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami 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.
 
The Moor’s Account brilliantly captures Estebanico’s voice and vision, giving us an alternate narrative for this famed expedition. As the dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popular belief, black men played a significant part in New World exploration and Native American men and women were not merely silent witnesses to it. In Laila Lalami’s deft hands, Estebanico’s memoir illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, even as storytelling can offer a chance for redemption and survival.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

Well-written, but suffers from a common problem of novelized biographies -- real life does not provide neat plot points or satisfying story arcs. Much like real life, the story meandered. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ParringtonWright - LibraryThing

A work of historical fiction set in the sixteenth century, Laila Lalami's The Moor's Account follows Mustafa, renamed Estebanico, from his early life in Morocco to his enslavement in Spain and his ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Prologue The Story of La Florida
The Story of My Birth
The Story of the Illusion
The Story of Azemmur
The Story of the March
The Story of the Sale
The Story of Apalache
The Story of Seville
The Story of Ramatullai
The Story of the Rafts
The Story of the Island of Misfortune
The Story of the Three Rivers
The Story of the Carancahuas
The Story of the Yguaces
The Story of the Avavares
The Story of the Land of Corn

The Story of Aute

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About the author (2014)

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. She is the author of the short story collection Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and the novel Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize long list. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and in many anthologies. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles.


From the Hardcover edition.

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