Alcornell's Reviews > The Moor's Last Sigh

The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
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Jul 29, 14

bookshelves: classic
Read in October, 2009 — I own a copy, read count: 1

It's a palimpsest--multiple layers, some showing through, others not. A bit of the story appears at a time, but never the entire thing at once. It is like life in that way. The themes are huge, and many. The characters are not fleshed out to the exclusion of any other, even the redoubtable Aurora, who is one of the wackiest characters in fiction, in my opinion. The writing is great, rythmic, pulsing, varied, challenging. I had to read this with a dictionary in hand. This added to my enjoyment of the book, but might be irritating to some. Rushdie is a genious. This was my first time reading one of his books, and it was a satisfying, tasty place to start.

I thought in the end the story dealt with life and death, love and loss, art as a means and medium to mitigate loss/suffering, or find/express oneself in relation to all life's highs and lows.

The novel also works as a metaphor for the larger geopolitical crises we live with in our age. I found many images which Rushdie carries forward into subsequent novels, (particularly the clown, the terrorist, the unrepentent criminal)and realized this novel is only part of the conversation Rushdie is having with his audience.

I found myself appreciating the author much more than I was prepared for. He gave me lots to think about, which also added to the time needed to read this story. I found it was best for me to read pieces (layers) at a time, then take some time to mull it over.

He says on page 364 of my copy, "there is no need to lay the blame on forebears or lovers.." and then carries on with his thoughts, to end the passage with a major idea of the book, which has stayed with me (found on page 365): "There comes a point in the unfurling of communal violence in which it becomes irrelevant to ask, 'Who started it?' The lethal conjugations of death part company with any possibility of justification, let alone justice. They surge among us, left and right, Hindu and Muslim, knife and pistol, killing, burning, looting, and raising into the smoky air their clenched and bloody fists. Both their houses are damned by their deeds; both sides sacrifice the right to any shred of virtue; they are each other's plagues."

The use of the image of Boabdil, the Sultan, looking back in unspeakable grief toward the lost Alhambra served Rushdie's story beautifully. I loved the book, and will likely return to it for another reading.
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Reading Progress

10/03/2009 page 67
14.96% "God's in his heaven, the brand-new widow announced. All's tip-top with the world."
10/03/2009 page 69
15.4% "(I need a dictionary to read this novel.) "Face facts, Aurora. Thinkofy. You've fallen for a bloody godown Moses.'"
10/09/2009 page 125
27.9% ""We all eat children" my mother rejoined, "if not other people's, then our own.""
10/18/2009 page 177
39.51% "Forget those damn fool realists! The real is always hidden-isn't it? - inside a miraculously burning bush! Life is fantastic! Paint that-"

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