(c)1995; London: Johnathan Cape; ISBN: 0224038141 (c)1996; New York: Knopf; ISBN: 0679420495
Billed as the sequel to Midnight’s Children, this is the latest novel Rushdie has published. The eye of the storm in this case is composed members of the small Jewish and Christian communities in India. Chock-full of metaphors and multi-lingual feats, at times “The Moor’s Last Sigh” threatens to prefigure all criticism and/or re-structuring. Less overtly Indian than “Midnight’s Children”, “The Moor’s Last Sigh” also seems, to me, a book that make few compromises for western eyes. This is also perhaps Rushdie’s saddest book, with too many departures, and pathetic yearnings, to be shaken off lightly.
The Moor’s Last Sigh was on the Booker prize short-list for 1995 and has won the Whitbread novel of the year award.
The book was not released for distribution in Bombay by its Indian publisher (Rupa and Co.) due to fears of violent protest. The novel contains a caricature of Bal Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena, a regional political party based in Maharashtra that has Hindu fundamentalist leanings. Subsequently, distribution was stopped all over India by a government order, and it appears, by an informal “ban” put in place by Indian Customs authorities. The publishers Rupa & Co. petitioned the Supreme Court to lift the “ban” imposed by the Central Government and it was lifted in late February. It is now possible to buy the book in India and in Bombay as well. The Shiv-Sena is noted for its strong arm tactics and attacks on journalists and newspapers that earn its leader’s ire.
To burn a book is not to destroy it. One minute of darkness will not make us blind. “Gabriel García Márquez: Clandestine in Chile” quoted in Imaginary Homelands
Moor is selling quite well, paperback sales for the UK publisher exceeded 180,000 copies for the latter half of 1996 and US figures are probably comparable. Thanks to Chris Rollason for the info, the entire message is available.
- Review of The Moor’s Last Sigh, Writing to save his life by Paul Gray in Time, Jan 15, 1996
- Review of The Moor’s Last Sigh, by Paul Gediman in the Boston Review.
- Time magazine’s report on The Moor’s Last Sigh; Rushdie offends again, in Time, September 11, 1995
- Images of Cochin and Bombay, Rushdie readers will find some of these familiar.
- Contemporary Indian artists courtesy of The Bombay page.
- An introduction to Chandigarh, the city Corbousier designed in Punjab.
- Images of the Alhambra, this file contains a lot of thumbnails and links to larger images.
- Chapter from The Alhambra, by Oleg Grabar at Palm Tree Books
- of the Moor’s Last Sigh, in The Hindu; the paper also published an and a story on the 1995 Booker prize.
- SASIALIT archive material
- The Jews of Cochin; a short introduction to the Jewish community in Cochin.
- The Rushdie Phenomenon: A Second Look, an essay and review by C.J.S. Wallia
- Cochin Jews from the soc.culture.jewish FAQ.
- On Merit, It’s a Rushdie Caricature; Andrew Riemer’s review in the Sydney Morning Herald
Review of The Moor’s Last Sigh at Dillons
- Review of The Moor’s Last Sigh from the rec.arts.books.reviews archive
- An article on Bal Thackeray, Demagogue of Hate in Asiaweek, Dec 29, 1995