Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account: A Lost Narrative


  • Sanaila Ghufran Research Scholar, Department of English, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Lucknow Campus, Lucknow, India



Subjugation, Islam, Backstory, Feminism, 9/11, Colonialism.


From the earlier times the voices of the minorities especially the Muslims have been subjugated by the forces. Many of the texts written in the olden times, whether fictional or non-fictional hardly have any mention of Muslims in them. One such text being the historical account of the Narvaez expedition that took place in 1527, which was chronicled by Cabeza de Vaca, one of the four survivors of the expedition. What is surprising is that one of the survivors was an African slave, Estabanico but he is hardly mentioned in the original, despite being part of the expedition that stretched to eight year. Fast forward to the 21st century which is the age of postcolonialism and where the once oppressed communities are finally speaking about their truth, Moroccan author, Laila Lalami through her novel, The Moor’s Account decided to give voice and a backstory to the African slave, Estabanico. The current paper deals with the complexities of the novel and tries to provide reasons as to why Cabeza de Vaca intentionally omitted the Estabanico’s account of the travels. The paper also discusses the ingenuine use of narrative tools made by the author in the retelling of the story of a forgotten Muslim slave. It also narrates the importance of women characters in the Islamic culture of those days, when the western woman was not as liberated as she is today. Lastly, the paper draws a parallel between Estabanico’s condition during the expedition and that of the Muslim population in the post 9/11 world.


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Ibid. p. 5
Ibid. p. 15.
Ibid. p. 54.
Ibid. p. 142.
Ibid. p. 231.
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How to Cite

Ghufran, S. (2020). Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account: A Lost Narrative. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(7), 29–40.