download kindle The Moor's Last SighAuthor Salman Rushdie – Mariahilff.de

Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found hereMoraes Moor Zogoiby is a high born crossbreed , the last surviving scion of a dynasty of Cochinise spice merchants and crime lords He is also a compulsive storyteller and an exile As he travels a route that takes him from India to Spain, he leaves behind a labyrinthine tale of mad passions and volcanic family hatreds, of titanic matriarchs and their mesmerised offspring, of premature deaths and curses that strike beyond the grave The Moor s Last Sigh is a spectacularly ambitious, funny, satirical and compassionate novel It is a love song to a vanishing world, but also its last hurrah from the back cover


10 thoughts on “The Moor's Last Sigh

  1. Ilse Ilse says:

    If love is not all, then it is nothing this principle, and its opposite I mean, infidelity , collide down all the years of my breathless tale. And breath taking it was, this epic saga on the rise, thriving and fall of four generations of an eccentric, wealthy Indian family at least, such is the imprint the novel left on me, having read it about twenty years ago Deception, hatred, revenge and murder are the ingredients of an exhilarating story ultimately revolving around love scorching If love is not all, then it is nothing this principle, and its opposite I mean, infidelity , collide down all the years of my breathless tale. And breath taking it was, this epic saga on the rise, thriving and fall of four generations of an eccentric, wealthy Indian family at least, such is the imprint the novel left on me, having read it about twenty years ago Deception, hatred, revenge and murder are the ingredients of an exhilarating story ultimately revolving around love scorching pepper love, motherly love, love of beauty and art one of the characters, Aurora Zogoiby, is inspired by the painter Amrita Sher Gil Like in Midnight s Children and Shame, Rushdie emerges as a fabulous storyteller, sailing airily on the waves of his powerful imagination and wit when interweaving the fortunes of the da Gama Zogoiby families with twentieth century Indian history and religious issues Partition, Hindu nationalism , blending fiction and real historical events I wanted to cling to the image of love as the blending of spirits, as m lange, as the triumph of the impure, mongrel, conjoining best of us over what there is in us of the solitary, the isolated, the austere, the dogmatic, the pure of love as democracy, as the victory of the no man is an island, two s company Many over the clean, mean, apartheiding Ones I tried to see lovelessness as arrogance, for who but the loveless could believe themselves complete, all seeing, all wise To love is to lose omnipotence and omniscience Ignorantly is how we all fall in love for it is a kind of fall Closing our eyes, we leap from that cliff in hope of a soft landing Nor is it always soft but still, I told myself, still, without that leap nobody comes to life The leap itself is a birth, even when it ends in death, in a scramble for white tablets, and the scent of bitter almonds on your beloved s breathless mouth. The vigorous narrative pace, the kaleidoscopic range, the alluring settings Cochin, Bombay, Spain and Rushdie s characteristic style and prose almost baroque, surrealistic, fast, dancing forwards, recoiling, tiptoeing sideways, digressing, almost baroque, coloured with word play and amusing references to film, music and literature left me bedazzled and somewhat word enebriated Though the story lines and the many characters have mostly faded, I remember my younger self adored the flavour of Salman Rushdie s writing, wondering now if themature reader self still would be enraptured by his spicy exuberanceAls liefde niet alles is, dan is ze niets Bedrog, haat, wraak en moord vormen de ingredi nten van een spannend verhaal waarin alles uiteindelijk om de liefde draait verzengende peperliefde, moederliefde, liefde voor schoonheid en kunst Rushdie is een rasverteller met een uitzonderlijk rijke verbeelding Luchtig en spitsvondig verweeft hij de lotgevallen van de families Da Gama en Zogoiby met de Indiase geschiedenis en religieuze kwesties Rushdies taal is zwierig, bijna barok en krioelt van woordspelletjes en persiflerende verwijzingen naar film, muziek en literatuur Een wervelend boek dat je onderdompelt in een heel eigen wereld


  2. Lisa Lisa says:

    This is a catastrophe I didn t add a review when I finished reading The Moor s Last Sigh, thus depriving myself of the only relatively secure method of remembering a Salman Rushdie novel in detail Well, maybe not detail, but at least in broad strokes.As it is now, my empty brain will have to reread instead of just quickly checking what I hoped would be a gushing review matching the stars.The Reader s Last Sigh To be reread, a quixotic quest for lost memory of reading pleasure past.


  3. Kalliope Kalliope says:

    This is another hard book to rate and review Rushdie is a smart, ingenious and purposeful writer Everything is cleverly thought out and his use of language is magical He bends the words with ease and brings out richer meanings The plot is an original story that unfolds as a series of riddles to a satirical account of modern India.Yet, in spite of all that, the book did not click with me The characters remain puppets As exotic cartoons they act out a sort of fable that sometimes appears wit This is another hard book to rate and review Rushdie is a smart, ingenious and purposeful writer Everything is cleverly thought out and his use of language is magical He bends the words with ease and brings out richer meanings The plot is an original story that unfolds as a series of riddles to a satirical account of modern India.Yet, in spite of all that, the book did not click with me The characters remain puppets As exotic cartoons they act out a sort of fable that sometimes appears without direction The novel seems another example of what is by now a well established genre in the literature of the subcontinent, that of magical allegories of the history of its Independence Rushdie may have been the pioneer of this trend with his Midnight Children I preferred the earlier novel.In this genre I also liked Shashi Tharoor s The Great Indian Novel, in which he mixes the Mahabharata with the account of the Partition.Since Rushdies s Enchantress of Florence is on my bookshelves anyway, I will certainly read oneof his books and hopefully will like it better.But here is a brilliant review of the Moor that does the book better justice


  4. Giedre Giedre says:

    I admit that I had already given The Moor s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie a couple of unsuccessful tries before I finally challenged myself to reading it in one go a couple of weeks ago It seemed just the right time to plunge into something by Rushdie after I unexpectedly met him at a conference he was giving in Madrid as part of the World Book Day celebration And yes, it was a big challenge If one can love and hate a book at the same time, admire and despise it, crave forand wish to fini I admit that I had already given The Moor s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie a couple of unsuccessful tries before I finally challenged myself to reading it in one go a couple of weeks ago It seemed just the right time to plunge into something by Rushdie after I unexpectedly met him at a conference he was giving in Madrid as part of the World Book Day celebration And yes, it was a big challenge If one can love and hate a book at the same time, admire and despise it, crave forand wish to finish it immediately, then I experienced it as well while turning the pages of The Moor s Last Sigh I couldn t but admire Rushdie s genius, his boundless imagination and his capacity to interweave the lives of the characters of the book and the historical facts into one single fabric full of new colors And at the same time I hated the slowness of the plot, which became even slower mixed with my incapacity to read Rusdhie s ornate language faster I loved how the author s experienced hand mixed classes, religions, ethnic groups, politics, business, crime and art And I pitied my lack of knowledge of the historical and political context, which made me miss a lot of allusions and connotations that would have madesense for somebody living in India I was tired of long sentences And I relished the poetry of the language I chose to quote one single sentence, which resumes everything I tried to say in this review, and everything I was not able to expressAnd if the flies buzzed in through the opened netting windows, and the naughty gusts through the parted panes of leaded glass, then opening of the shutters let in everything else the dust and the tumult of boats in Cochin harbour, the horns of freighters and tugboat chugs, the fishermen s dirty jokes and the throb of their jellyfish stings, the sunlight as sharp as a knife, the heat that could choke you like a damp cloth pulled tightly around your head, the calls of floating hawkers, the wafting sadness of the unmarried Jews across the water in Mattancherri, the menace of emerald smugglers, the machinations of business rivals, the growing nervousness of the British colony in Fort Cochin, the cash demands of the staff and of the plantation workers in the Spice Mountains, the tales of Communist troublemaking and Congresswallah politics, the names Gandhi and Nehru, the rumours of famine in the east and hunger strikes in the north, the songs and drum beats of the oral storytellers, and the heavy rolling sound as they broke against Cabral Island s rickety jetty of the incoming tides of history Give it a try Or a few You ll love it or you ll hate it Or both Oh, and if you are not sure what a palimpsest is, this book will teach you everything you need to know about it, I promise


  5. Agnes Agnes says:

    Review part 1 don t let Rushdie fool you into thinking that it is Moor Zogoiby s story and heck , they re somewhat flat, or Rushdie makes an allegory and fails on both counts both the upperstory and understory are not well developed happens when you want to ride two horses at once But, oh, dear, it is one horse, not two sigh this review just doesn t end But Rushdie is a crazy fellow, maker of an atom bomb large scale destruction squeezed Review part 1 don t let Rushdie fool you into thinking that it is Moor Zogoiby s story and heck , they re somewhat flat, or Rushdie makes an allegory and fails on both counts both the upperstory and understory are not well developed happens when you want to ride two horses at once But, oh, dear, it is one horse, not two sigh this review just doesn t end But Rushdie is a crazy fellow, maker of an atom bomb large scale destruction squeezed into a bomb the size of a fist But I should end now, though I have a lotto babble o fy about, I know What all did I like in this Rushdie, let me sum up fast the blasphemy, the profanity, the creativity, the chutneyfication of language, the masterly interweaving of fact and fiction, the literary references generously peppered all over the hot, spicy dish, the scathing political references that only a bold, fearless, audacious and blasphemous person can dare to make Dear Indian, do you have the guts to call Hindustan Dumpistan I m quite surprised, not really, when the readers do not have EXTENSIVE knowledge of India that the book is rated badly or averagely Let me tell you, even if it sounds pompous I ve read this book the 10th time today in 5 years I read it for the first time just after I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first timeHow vastly different the tone, the manners, of the two booksThen in two years, I read it 8times, until I got used to it I ve picked it up again after a gap of three years and am actually amazed by the fact that I ve got a lotout of this reading than any of those before Simply because I am far better armed with Indian History now than I was three years back My recent obsession with Indian history, mythology and politics paid off today in very unexpected ways And yet, I still know I have failed to understand some points he made, and will need to readhistory still And muchof global popular and literary culture as well I mean, I was introduced to the legendary Johnny Cash and his civil war songs only two years back how could I have discerned the reference 4 5 years ago when Rushdie brings in a new character, a businessman cum charming musician guitarist singing country songs about trains, named Jimmy Cash Cashondeliveri So I still don t know who Kekoo Mody is in real life, or Justice Kachrawala is the Bofors scandal judge, I think This little book, didn t I say, is a dynamite filled to the brim with everything Rushdie could squeeze in If A Fine Balance, a book I love immensely, is one of the finest pictures of the contradictions of modern India, A Moor s Last Sigh too shares the pedestal While AFB is stoic, serious and mournful, MLS is loud mouthed, comic and mocking AFB is the incarnation of naked, unadulterated pain, but MLS is the incarnation of pain masquerading as comic, insincere blasphemy the only way left to tell honestly one s sordid saga without making someone flinch AFB is the ultimate Indian tragedy MLS is the ultimate Indian tragi comedy Take away from it what you will The review has ended Don t roll o fy your biggie eyes at me, you chose to read it, Sir or Madam, I didn t force o fy your decision I m not the impotent Jaw Jaw all bark no bite bitch, I bite o fy real hard, and I won t bite so fast, and like little 13 year old Aurora who bide o fied her time to kill her grandma Epifania, I will bide o my time too, to bite o you I m no sweet Mother India


  6. Andy Jacobs Andy Jacobs says:

    Gripping and whimsical story spanning a century of one Indian family s business, artistic, and leisure endeavors Rushdie s writing is like candy, with sweet turns of phrase and quirky Dickensian characters, leaving the reader craving the next page With Garcia Marquez ish elements of magical realism and a pervading sinister feeling, like Dumas.


  7. Agnes Agnes says:

    The Moor s Last Sigh is a colorful, hard hitting excursion into India Squeezed into a paperback, it spans nearly a century, and through the tumultuous history of the Zogoibys as they enlarge their pepper trade in Cochin wasn t it with spices, the hot pepper that it all started to a national scale diversification of all kinds of spices of life, cruising through the intense political scenes of Independence movement to newly acquired freedom to communal bloodshed to Indira Gandhi led Emerge The Moor s Last Sigh is a colorful, hard hitting excursion into India Squeezed into a paperback, it spans nearly a century, and through the tumultuous history of the Zogoibys as they enlarge their pepper trade in Cochin wasn t it with spices, the hot pepper that it all started to a national scale diversification of all kinds of spices of life, cruising through the intense political scenes of Independence movement to newly acquired freedom to communal bloodshed to Indira Gandhi led Emergency to the proliferation of the Mumbai Underworld Mafia in the 1980s and the 1990s with a parallel Upperworld Political communal Mafia, Rushdie, the master puppeteer creates a show where the Zogoibys, as Kalliope rightly points out, are the puppets of Mother India, the various myths that Mother India is, the various false myths Mother India is, and also the children of that passionately loving, passionately cruel Mother that are entranced and entrapped, approaching their doom with double the speed they are supposed to travel, and all by their own terrified consent Like the Moor s tale, my own take on the tale is anything but coherent, scattered like Moor s loose pages all over the place, messy and chaotic Allegorical to Mother India Full of magical realism, it is a realism that seems magical to the onlookers, a tragi comedy, a tragedy to the characters, a farce to the readers, a drudge to the living Written in 1995, this is Rushdie s first novel after The Satanic Verses, that forced an author underground because he chose to speakofy his mind not in hush hush barely decipherable ambiguous impotent tones but in an in your face to hell with you don t askofy if you don t want the bleddy truth profane potent portent loudspeaker style It was not Moor who was exiled by his Mother Aurora da Gama Zogoiby, but the UnluckyZogoiby in ArabicRushdie, the Indian bastard or as Rushdie Moor likes it, baas stink, turd no translation needed of a non Indian community who was disowned and thrown out by Mother India, hurtling towards an imminent death perhaps at double the speed of his biological life span, cursed by another Mother Rumpelstiltskin who wanted him all for herself The Moor s tale, then, is not just an allegory to Modern Mother India, or to her unfortunate children, but also particularly to one special crippled child Rushdie himself, betrayed by his mother, his housekeeper Miss Jaya Hesee the point It is a phrase in the National Anthem, loosely meaning Victory Hail to who else but Mom India , by his only lover artist Uma Sarasvati Two Indian Goddesses in one Uma, the wife of Shiv who destroys Sarasvati, the incarnation of knowledge, therefore, the brilliant girl who destroyed Moor , and lastly, by his own Muse Vasco Miranda an allusion to another profane blasphemous Indian artist M.F Hussain, exiled by our Mom for whom Moor s mother Aurora was once his own Muse Where to start After all this long dithering, I haven t startofied my review yet When Moor s own tale is all over the place, how do I know where to begin When the tale itself is a pastiche, a random sticking of images and histories that has its own method to madness, when there is no clear beginning but only a vertigo where anything can come first, beware, O Readers, I too will stick o fy my point wherever I wish, like Moor stickofies one page of his tale to a tree and the other to a wall and a third to a well until they re all over Benengeli, and don t point o fy your fingers at me if you don t like my jabberings lest I Jaw Jaw at you like that now stuffed dog Ah, but it all began with the spicy spices trade, didn t it The Portuguese had the hots for all our hot stuff and came here crossing half the world for a pinch of pepper And then the Jews, the exiles from their own Mothers came sailing and sat down in Cochin, becoming the Cochin Jews, and also came all the Portuguese Christians, all of them with their hidden mysteries that led them here, and went into the pepper trade So here we come to the Portuguese Epifania and Francisco da Gama in the early 1900s with their children Aires who married Carmen Aunt Sahara, the flat barren desert who was never touched by her homo husband and so never reaped the fortune that lay between her legs, a legal heir, and Camoens, who married Belle who made both boobies and babies with her hubby to bring forth Mother Aurora who would marry a Cochin Jew who But, like Moor, I m getting ahead of my tale While we witness the interesting, hilarious events of the da Gama family as Belle wages war against the dominating matriarch epiphany Epifania, what we witness in the in house separation Belle, Camoens, Francisco going anti British Simon go back, Epifania Aires Carmen going The Brits gave us what all we have is a microcosm of an India torn into two factions an elite pro British bunch, especially Christians Portuguese afraid of giving up their pretty Anglican ways simultaneously rightly fearing Indians in charge of India, and an optimistic pro Independence pro equality, softly flirtatiously Marxist, heavily nationalistic euphoric duds bunch rallying under the suave charm of the English pruned Nehru and the rustic once upon a time Angrezi imitator now desi by choice little naked man Gandhi in a loin cloth The ballistic warfare in the da Gama family that ends with Belle taking charge of the house and the business when national chaos descends and Aires and Camoens are dumped into jail for 15 years signals the victory of the INC, the Nehru led Congress party that would replace the British in 1947 But as everyone knows, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru screwed up the nation that was put in his hands, that dilettante child of Macaulay who finally produced his dream Minuteman, Indians in blood and color, but English in choices and opinions, daydreaming of progress as the country burned and got beaten up in front of his closed sleeping dreaming eyes For all his failures, I now think, Rushdie has been really kind to him, only mocking him with semi seriousness Aires, out of contempt, names his bulldog Jawaharlal Jaw Jaw to annoy the pro Nehru family members Shut up, Jaw Jaw, you all bark no bite mutt Like Jaw Jaw Jawaharlal, they made plenty of noise but didn t draw much blood Panditji, Congress tho is always chickening out in the face of radical acts No soft options will be takeofied round here Once, indeed, there were giants on our stage but at the fag end of an age, Madam History must make do with what she can get Jawaharlal, in these latter days, was just the name of a stuffed dog At this point in the story, the dog is dead and is stuffed by Aires to keep him alive , a brilliant metaphor by Rushdie.While the World Wars rage and the Independence movement gains momentum, Aurora grows up mother less, not so much as motherless, as her Mummy Belle hunts business deals during the day and tigers to feed upon at night, with Camoens tucked away in jail And when Belle dies after Camoens is released, Aurora, the 13 year old kid unleashes her week long mourning in isolation by maddeningly painting her room, pouring forth vivid confusing images of the family yarn and weaving them onto a carpet of colors At 15, she chooses the quiet Arab Jew clerk Abraham Zogoiby, as old as her father as her lover, and while her father dies, she moves in with him, because she cannot marry him In the book, this is quite an interesting, roaring episode, a great commentary on religious cultural clashes, of standing up to one s family for one s right to love, of the great complicated affair a family is within the evencomplicated nuances of age old cultural rivalries, building upon Romeo and Juliet but our lovers are no Romeo or Juliet if they cannot marry, they will not But they will love Not in their sacred hearts, but in their scandalous bodies Not from their respective captive homes, but in the freedom of their house Let them make their own yarn But welcome back to India It s an independent country now Aurora has taken V Miranda the artist under her wing and at the dinner table, newly found freedom is being celebrated while Hindus and Muslims massacre each other in Kashmir Miranda lashes out at the self deceived foolery around him Useless fucking art johnny clever dicks, he jeered Circular sexualist India my foot No Bleddy tongue twister came out wrong Secular socialist That s it Bleddy bunk Panditji sold you that stuff like a cheap watch salesman and you all bought one and now you wonder why it doesn t work Bleddy Congress party full of bleddy fake Rolex Salesman You think India ll just roll over, all those bloodthirsty bloodsoaked gods ll just roll over and die And I ll tell you something, Mr Big Businessman Abie, let me give you a tip Only one power in this damn country is strong enough to stand up against those gods and it isn t blanket blank sockular specialism It isn t blanket blank Pandit Nehru and his blanket blank protection of minorities Congress watch wallahs You know what it is I ll tell you what it is Corruption You get me Bribery Onething, piece of good advice for you all Get on the boats with the British Just get on the bleddy boats and buggeroff This place has no use for you It ll beat you and eat you Get out Get out while the getting s good.Why is Kashmir the point of contention between India and Pakistan, and not any other state, when there were and are so many other probable candidates too It is because immediately after Independence when many states kingdoms Junagadh, Hyderabad, Kashmir wanted to be independent nations, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was appointed to unite them under India by hook or crook Patel succeeded, but Nehru intervened Instead of Sardar, Nehru wanted to be the one to convince Kashmir s Hindu king, who ruled the state s majority population of Muslims, to join India Bleddy Reason Nehru was a Kashmiri Pandit He was so much in love with his state, the dudhead wanted the glory of salvaging his darling state and he messed it up with his ineptitude And Hindus and Muslims, torn between India and Pakistan and the chance of becoming an independent entity, slaughtered each other, sending the nation into yet another bout of shock, paranoia, enmity and accusations The riots haven t yet ended they have becomefrequent, all over the country And Vasco was right Gods are useless Money speaks Bleddy money speaks and bleddy gods listen It was not an inebriated Miranda s senseless tirade it was a spectacular summing up of how India was doomed from the very start, and would pay heavily for the foundation it had achieved its Independence on And the consequences, in Moor s words, as we jump momentarily to the end of the novel which alludes to the turning points in India s Communal history the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 by BJP RSS VHP political right wing Hindu party, and the subsequent terror attacks by Muslim extremists in Mumbai particularly and riots all over the twin countries are Violence was violence, murder was murder, two wrongs did not make one right these are truths of which I was fully cognizant Also by sinking to your adversary s level you lose the high ground In the days after the destruction of the Babri Masjid, justly enraged Muslims fanatical killers smashed up Hindu temples, and killed Hindus, across India and Pakistan as well 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.But warnings were given even earlier, when Aurora wasn t even born, by Camoens, referring to the hymn beloved to Gandhi, that says Ram Ishwar and Allah are one, the Hindu and Islamic gods are but different names for one god, predicting the events of 1992 when the Mosque was partially demolished on the argument that Lord Ram was born there 5000 years ago, where the 400 years old mosque now stood And they say Ishwar and Allah is your name but they don t mean it, they mean only Ram himself, king of the Raghu clan, purifier of sinners along with Sita In the end I am afraid people like us will have to lock our doors and there will come a Battering Ram But back to old India, to the two Mothers that captured the imagination of real India, while Aurora takes hold of Moor and Moor s life, in the middle of the 20th century From Cochin, the story swiftly moves to Bombay as the Zogoiby family relocates there and the nation transitions from political babysteps to an enfant terrible, a socio political menace in the dexterous, able hands of Rushdie s flawlessly executed introduction Aurora s rebellious high parapet frenzy blasphemous scandalizing dance in contempt of Maharashtra s beloved Hindu festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, the celebration of the Elephant headed god first used as a pretext for banned large scale meetings by the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who fanned the flames of armed resistance against British Raj, then recently appropriated by the notorious political hard liner party Shiv Sena to drive out poor non Marathi migrant workers from the state, turning an innocent festival into the hotbed of religious frenzy and fanaticism and filthy opportunistic politics, where the two make unlikely but highly compatible bedfellows Rushdie takes a dig at Shiv Sena founder, the cartoonist turned militant Bal Thackeray, mocking his ugliness by adding a nickname Mainduck Frog in Hindi to his fictitious name Raman Fielding, blatantly accusing his party of all the dirty politics they have played, transitioning from champions of Marathi culture and people to moral policing read lathi charging young couples, married or unmarried, for holding hands in public on Valentine s Day and beating the hell out of them if they become a bit cozy on other days too to aligning with BJP RSS VHP and inciting communal hatred And coming to Bombay, ooops Mumbai now, unless you want Shiv Sena pulping you for the indiscretion how can we forget our silver screen Mother now, Mother India, the quintessential tale of the Indian mother, Indian bride, Indian wife, Indian woman she doesn t exist on her own, does she , the quintessential tale of rural agricultural India, the quintessential tale of common man which the gripped the country s imagination, with its spectacular pair of mother played by Nargis and rebellious son Birju played by Sunil Dutt who married soon in real life The movie becomes a source of discussion for India, a metaphor for the imagined India that was so far removed from metropolitan India and yet survived through popular myth, through Metanarratives, as the essence of India Juxtaposing the rural movie with the metro city, the fictional mother son with real life lovers, Aurora says, as Nargis and Sunil Dutt visit her home The first time I saw that picture , she Aurora confided to the famous movie star Nargis on the high terrace at Elephanta, I took one look at your Bad Son, Birju, and I thought, O boy, what a handsome guy too much sizzle, too much chilli, bring water He may be a thief and a bounder, but that is some A class loverboy goods And now look you have gone and marry o ed him What sexy lives you movie people leadofy to marry your own son, I swear, wowie Even in the picture, but, Aurora went relentlessly on, I knew right off that bad Birju had the hots for his gorgeous ma And now, Rushdie s own careful comment on the movie, which can be seen both in and out of context of the novel In Mother India, a piece of Hindu myth making directed by a Muslim socialist, Mehboob Khan, the Indian peasant woman is idealized as bride, mother and producer of sons as long suffering, stoical, loving, redemptive, and conservatively wedded to the maintenance of the status quo But for Bad Birju, cast out from his mother s love, she becomes, as one critic has mentioned, that image of an aggressive, treacherous, annihilating mother who haunts the fantasy life of Indian males And what about the other Mother India, the one that haunted real life India Indira Gandhi, daughter of Nehru, first female PM of India, the one who boldly broke the sanctions on India and went ahead to test India s first nuclear device in Pokhran, and in 1975 she imposed the Emergency when it became clear that she would be removed from her post Like Aurora, she is the heroine and the antiheroine, the mother and the anti mother figure of India s story While the poor and the honest beg and die, or are executed, the rich and the corrupt oil each other and reap its dirty wealth Abraham Zogoiby enters the Underworld negotiations and his business grows exponentially, while Aurora s stars as the beloved Indian artist rise and sink and rise With Uma Sarasvati s machinations that drive mother and son apart, Moor s foray into Mainduck s clan, his prodigal return to his father who then has no use for him and discards him for the second time, it is India we see, everywhere, everywhere This isn t a story about the Moor or the Zogoibys at all It is Rushdie s impeccable skills that make you think that it is about the characters caught up in a particularly eventful century Even though it is about India, the surface story never flags the two are so closely intertwined together that they cannot be told without either going missing Each one tells the other s tale And so, when the characters aren t likeable enough, or deep enough, it is because they aren t meant to be Generalizations are never finely woven like a summary, they have to span over a large slice of time and eschew much of finesse And yet, the characters are deep enough, nuanced enough to keep the reader gripped in the surface story and not just let him her slip into the metaphorical story of India And like the titular paintingThe moor s last sigh , the final act of forgiveness that Aurora bestows upon her son Moor India, and the Moor s tale too is a palimpsest, a painting upon a painting, a superimposition of one tale over the other Two tales that have merged into one, even though they are different Why this deeper story masquerading so convincingly as the surface story, or vice versa Because, my dears, this is what India is A visual deception, a deception nuanced, fine enough to send the unwary casual stroller on the wrong path The Upperworld and the Underworld don t just co exist as allegories, they are the same story itself They are not two sides of the same coin It is not you or me, it is you and me Their threads are so finely enmeshed that to destroy one is to destroy the other too And so, readers, is Rushdie s tale The Zogoibys and India don t just co exist The Zogoibys are not a metaphor for India, a microcosm, a summary of India, a representative of the land It is not India simplified, India for Dummies guidebook They and India are different, but part of the same story Review part 2


  8. Lit Bug Lit Bug says:

    1st part of the review don t let Rushdie fool you into thinking that it is Moor Zogoiby s story and heck , they re somewhat flat, or Rushdie makes an allegory and fails on both counts both the upperstory and understory are not well developed happens when you want to ride two horses at once But, oh, dear, it is one horse, not two sigh this review just doesn t end But Rushdie is a crazy fellow, maker of an atom bomb large scale destruction 1st part of the review don t let Rushdie fool you into thinking that it is Moor Zogoiby s story and heck , they re somewhat flat, or Rushdie makes an allegory and fails on both counts both the upperstory and understory are not well developed happens when you want to ride two horses at once But, oh, dear, it is one horse, not two sigh this review just doesn t end But Rushdie is a crazy fellow, maker of an atom bomb large scale destruction squeezed into a bomb the size of a fist But I should end now, though I have a lotto babble o fy about, I know What all did I like in this Rushdie, let me sum up fast the blasphemy, the profanity, the creativity, the chutneyfication of language, the masterly interweaving of fact and fiction, the literary references generously peppered all over the hot, spicy dish, the scathing political references that only a bold, fearless, audacious and blasphemous person can dare to make Dear Indian, do you have the guts to call Hindustan Dumpistan I m quite surprised, not really, when the readers do not have EXTENSIVE knowledge of India that the book is rated badly or averagely Let me tell you, even if it sounds pompous I ve read this book the 10th time today in 5 years I read it for the first time just after I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first timeHow vastly different the tone, the manners, of the two booksThen in two years, I read it 8times, until I got used to it I ve picked it up again after a gap of three years and am actually amazed by the fact that I ve got a lotout of this reading than any of those before Simply because I am far better armed with Indian History now than I was three years back My recent obsession with Indian history, mythology and politics paid off today in very unexpected ways And yet, I still know I have failed to understand some points he made, and will need to readhistory still And muchof global popular and literary culture as well I mean, I was introduced to the legendary Johnny Cash and his civil war songs only two years back how could I have discerned the reference 4 5 years ago when Rushdie brings in a new character, a businessman cum charming musician guitarist singing country songs about trains, named Jimmy Cash Cashondeliveri So I still don t know who Kekoo Mody is in real life, or Justice Kachrawala is the Bofors scandal judge, I think This little book, didn t I say, is a dynamite filled to the brim with everything Rushdie could squeeze in If A Fine Balance, a book I love immensely, is one of the finest pictures of the contradictions of modern India, A Moor s Last Sigh too shares the pedestal While AFB is stoic, serious and mournful, MLS is loud mouthed, comic and mocking AFB is the incarnation of naked, unadulterated pain, but MLS is the incarnation of pain masquerading as comic, insincere blasphemy the only way left to tell honestly one s sordid saga without making someone flinch AFB is the ultimate Indian tragedy MLS is the ultimate Indian tragi comedy Take away from it what you will The review has ended Don t roll o fy your biggie eyes at me, you chose to read it, Sir or Madam, I didn t force o fy your decision I m not the impotent Jaw Jaw all bark no bite bitch, I bite o fy real hard, and I won t bite so fast, and like little 13 year old Aurora who bide o fied her time to kill her grandma Epifania, I will bide o my time too, to bite o you I m no sweet Mother India


  9. Russ Russ says:

    The Moor s Last Sigh is Rushdie s best book since


  10. Lit Bug Lit Bug says:

    The Moor s Last Sigh is a colorful, hard hitting excursion into India Squeezed into a paperback, it spans nearly a century, and through the tumultuous history of the Zogoibys as they enlarge their pepper trade in Cochin wasn t it with spices, the hot pepper that it all started to a national scale diversification of all kinds of spices of life, cruising through the intense political scenes of Independence movement to newly acquired freedom to communal bloodshed to Indira Gandhi led Emerge The Moor s Last Sigh is a colorful, hard hitting excursion into India Squeezed into a paperback, it spans nearly a century, and through the tumultuous history of the Zogoibys as they enlarge their pepper trade in Cochin wasn t it with spices, the hot pepper that it all started to a national scale diversification of all kinds of spices of life, cruising through the intense political scenes of Independence movement to newly acquired freedom to communal bloodshed to Indira Gandhi led Emergency to the proliferation of the Mumbai Underworld Mafia in the 1980s and the 1990s with a parallel Upperworld Political communal Mafia, Rushdie, the master puppeteer creates a show where the Zogoibys, as Kalliope rightly points out, are the puppets of Mother India, the various myths that Mother India is, the various false myths Mother India is, and also the children of that passionately loving, passionately cruel Mother that are entranced and entrapped, approaching their doom with double the speed they are supposed to travel, and all by their own terrified consent Like the Moor s tale, my own take on the tale is anything but coherent, scattered like Moor s loose pages all over the place, messy and chaotic Allegorical to Mother India Full of magical realism, it is a realism that seems magical to the onlookers, a tragi comedy, a tragedy to the characters, a farce to the readers, a drudge to the living Written in 1995, this is Rushdie s first novel after The Satanic Verses, that forced an author underground because he chose to speakofy his mind not in hush hush barely decipherable ambiguous impotent tones but in an in your face to hell with you don t askofy if you don t want the bleddy truth profane potent portent loudspeaker style It was not Moor who was exiled by his Mother Aurora da Gama Zogoiby, but the UnluckyZogoiby in ArabicRushdie, the Indian bastard or as Rushdie Moor likes it, baas stink, turd no translation needed of a non Indian community who was disowned and thrown out by Mother India, hurtling towards an imminent death perhaps at double the speed of his biological life span, cursed by another Mother Rumpelstiltskin who wanted him all for herself The Moor s tale, then, is not just an allegory to Modern Mother India, or to her unfortunate children, but also particularly to one special crippled child Rushdie himself, betrayed by his mother, his housekeeper Miss Jaya Hesee the point It is a phrase in the National Anthem, loosely meaning Victory Hail to who else but Mom India , by his only lover artist Uma Sarasvati Two Indian Goddesses in one Uma, the wife of Shiv who destroys Sarasvati, the incarnation of knowledge, therefore, the brilliant girl who destroyed Moor , and lastly, by his own Muse Vasco Miranda an allusion to another profane blasphemous Indian artist M.F Hussain, exiled by our Mom for whom Moor s mother Aurora was once his own Muse Where to start After all this long dithering, I haven t startofied my review yet When Moor s own tale is all over the place, how do I know where to begin When the tale itself is a pastiche, a random sticking of images and histories that has its own method to madness, when there is no clear beginning but only a vertigo where anything can come first, beware, O Readers, I too will stick o fy my point wherever I wish, like Moor stickofies one page of his tale to a tree and the other to a wall and a third to a well until they re all over Benengeli, and don t point o fy your fingers at me if you don t like my jabberings lest I Jaw Jaw at you like that now stuffed dog Ah, but it all began with the spicy spices trade, didn t it The Portuguese had the hots for all our hot stuff and came here crossing half the world for a pinch of pepper And then the Jews, the exiles from their own Mothers came sailing and sat down in Cochin, becoming the Cochin Jews, and also came all the Portuguese Christians, all of them with their hidden mysteries that led them here, and went into the pepper trade So here we come to the Portuguese Epifania and Francisco da Gama in the early 1900s with their children Aires who married Carmen Aunt Sahara, the flat barren desert who was never touched by her homo husband and so never reaped the fortune that lay between her legs, a legal heir, and Camoens, who married Belle who made both boobies and babies with her hubby to bring forth Mother Aurora who would marry a Cochin Jew who But, like Moor, I m getting ahead of my tale While we witness the interesting, hilarious events of the da Gama family as Belle wages war against the dominating matriarch epiphany Epifania, what we witness in the in house separation Belle, Camoens, Francisco going anti British Simon go back, Epifania Aires Carmen going The Brits gave us what all we have is a microcosm of an India torn into two factions an elite pro British bunch, especially Christians Portuguese afraid of giving up their pretty Anglican ways simultaneously rightly fearing Indians in charge of India, and an optimistic pro Independence pro equality, softly flirtatiously Marxist, heavily nationalistic euphoric duds bunch rallying under the suave charm of the English pruned Nehru and the rustic once upon a time Angrezi imitator now desi by choice little naked man Gandhi in a loin cloth The ballistic warfare in the da Gama family that ends with Belle taking charge of the house and the business when national chaos descends and Aires and Camoens are dumped into jail for 15 years signals the victory of the INC, the Nehru led Congress party that would replace the British in 1947 But as everyone knows, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru screwed up the nation that was put in his hands, that dilettante child of Macaulay who finally produced his dream Minuteman, Indians in blood and color, but English in choices and opinions, daydreaming of progress as the country burned and got beaten up in front of his closed sleeping dreaming eyes For all his failures, I now think, Rushdie has been really kind to him, only mocking him with semi seriousness Aires, out of contempt, names his bulldog Jawaharlal Jaw Jaw to annoy the pro Nehru family members Shut up, Jaw Jaw, you all bark no bite mutt Like Jaw Jaw Jawaharlal, they made plenty of noise but didn t draw much blood Panditji, Congress tho is always chickening out in the face of radical acts No soft options will be takeofied round here Once, indeed, there were giants on our stage but at the fag end of an age, Madam History must make do with what she can get Jawaharlal, in these latter days, was just the name of a stuffed dog At this point in the story, the dog is dead and is stuffed by Aires to keep him alive , a brilliant metaphor by Rushdie.While the World Wars rage and the Independence movement gains momentum, Aurora grows up mother less, not so much as motherless, as her Mummy Belle hunts business deals during the day and tigers to feed upon at night, with Camoens tucked away in jail And when Belle dies after Camoens is released, Aurora, the 13 year old kid unleashes her week long mourning in isolation by maddeningly painting her room, pouring forth vivid confusing images of the family yarn and weaving them onto a carpet of colors At 15, she chooses the quiet Arab Jew clerk Abraham Zogoiby, as old as her father as her lover, and while her father dies, she moves in with him, because she cannot marry him In the book, this is quite an interesting, roaring episode, a great commentary on religious cultural clashes, of standing up to one s family for one s right to love, of the great complicated affair a family is within the evencomplicated nuances of age old cultural rivalries, building upon Romeo and Juliet but our lovers are no Romeo or Juliet if they cannot marry, they will not But they will love Not in their sacred hearts, but in their scandalous bodies Not from their respective captive homes, but in the freedom of their house Let them make their own yarn But welcome back to India It s an independent country now Aurora has taken V Miranda the artist under her wing and at the dinner table, newly found freedom is being celebrated while Hindus and Muslims massacre each other in Kashmir Miranda lashes out at the self deceived foolery around him Useless fucking art johnny clever dicks, he jeered Circular sexualist India my foot No Bleddy tongue twister came out wrong Secular socialist That s it Bleddy bunk Panditji sold you that stuff like a cheap watch salesman and you all bought one and now you wonder why it doesn t work Bleddy Congress party full of bleddy fake Rolex Salesman You think India ll just roll over, all those bloodthirsty bloodsoaked gods ll just roll over and die And I ll tell you something, Mr Big Businessman Abie, let me give you a tip Only one power in this damn country is strong enough to stand up against those gods and it isn t blanket blank sockular specialism It isn t blanket blank Pandit Nehru and his blanket blank protection of minorities Congress watch wallahs You know what it is I ll tell you what it is Corruption You get me Bribery Onething, piece of good advice for you all Get on the boats with the British Just get on the bleddy boats and buggeroff This place has no use for you It ll beat you and eat you Get out Get out while the getting s good.Why is Kashmir the point of contention between India and Pakistan, and not any other state, when there were and are so many other probable candidates too It is because immediately after Independence when many states kingdoms Junagadh, Hyderabad, Kashmir wanted to be independent nations, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was appointed to unite them under India by hook or crook Patel succeeded, but Nehru intervened Instead of Sardar, Nehru wanted to be the one to convince Kashmir s Hindu king, who ruled the state s majority population of Muslims, to join India Bleddy Reason Nehru was a Kashmiri Pandit He was so much in love with his state, the dudhead wanted the glory of salvaging his darling state and he messed it up with his ineptitude And Hindus and Muslims, torn between India and Pakistan and the chance of becoming an independent entity, slaughtered each other, sending the nation into yet another bout of shock, paranoia, enmity and accusations The riots haven t yet ended they have becomefrequent, all over the country And Vasco was right Gods are useless Money speaks Bleddy money speaks and bleddy gods listen It was not an inebriated Miranda s senseless tirade it was a spectacular summing up of how India was doomed from the very start, and would pay heavily for the foundation it had achieved its Independence on And the consequences, in Moor s words, as we jump momentarily to the end of the novel which alludes to the turning points in India s Communal history the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 by BJP RSS VHP political right wing Hindu party, and the subsequent terror attacks by Muslim extremists in Mumbai particularly and riots all over the twin countries are Violence was violence, murder was murder, two wrongs did not make one right these are truths of which I was fully cognizant Also by sinking to your adversary s level you lose the high ground In the days after the destruction of the Babri Masjid, justly enraged Muslims fanatical killers smashed up Hindu temples, and killed Hindus, across India and Pakistan as well 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.But warnings were given even earlier, when Aurora wasn t even born, by Camoens, referring to the hymn beloved to Gandhi, that says Ram Ishwar and Allah are one, the Hindu and Islamic gods are but different names for one god, predicting the events of 1992 when the Mosque was partially demolished on the argument that Lord Ram was born there 5000 years ago, where the 400 years old mosque now stood And they say Ishwar and Allah is your name but they don t mean it, they mean only Ram himself, king of the Raghu clan, purifier of sinners along with Sita In the end I am afraid people like us will have to lock our doors and there will come a Battering Ram But back to old India, to the two Mothers that captured the imagination of real India, while Aurora takes hold of Moor and Moor s life, in the middle of the 20th century From Cochin, the story swiftly moves to Bombay as the Zogoiby family relocates there and the nation transitions from political babysteps to an enfant terrible, a socio political menace in the dexterous, able hands of Rushdie s flawlessly executed introduction Aurora s rebellious high parapet frenzy blasphemous scandalizing dance in contempt of Maharashtra s beloved Hindu festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, the celebration of the Elephant headed god first used as a pretext for banned large scale meetings by the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who fanned the flames of armed resistance against British Raj, then recently appropriated by the notorious political hard liner party Shiv Sena to drive out poor non Marathi migrant workers from the state, turning an innocent festival into the hotbed of religious frenzy and fanaticism and filthy opportunistic politics, where the two make unlikely but highly compatible bedfellows Rushdie takes a dig at Shiv Sena founder, the cartoonist turned militant Bal Thackeray, mocking his ugliness by adding a nickname Mainduck Frog in Hindi to his fictitious name Raman Fielding, blatantly accusing his party of all the dirty politics they have played, transitioning from champions of Marathi culture and people to moral policing read lathi charging young couples, married or unmarried, for holding hands in public on Valentine s Day and beating the hell out of them if they become a bit cozy on other days too to aligning with BJP RSS VHP and inciting communal hatred And coming to Bombay, ooops Mumbai now, unless you want Shiv Sena pulping you for the indiscretion how can we forget our silver screen Mother now, Mother India, the quintessential tale of the Indian mother, Indian bride, Indian wife, Indian woman she doesn t exist on her own, does she , the quintessential tale of rural agricultural India, the quintessential tale of common man which the gripped the country s imagination, with its spectacular pair of mother played by Nargis and rebellious son Birju played by Sunil Dutt who married soon in real life The movie becomes a source of discussion for India, a metaphor for the imagined India that was so far removed from metropolitan India and yet survived through popular myth, through Metanarratives, as the essence of India Juxtaposing the rural movie with the metro city, the fictional mother son with real life lovers, Aurora says, as Nargis and Sunil Dutt visit her home The first time I saw that picture , she Aurora confided to the famous movie star Nargis on the high terrace at Elephanta, I took one look at your Bad Son, Birju, and I thought, O boy, what a handsome guy too much sizzle, too much chilli, bring water He may be a thief and a bounder, but that is some A class loverboy goods And now look you have gone and marry o ed him What sexy lives you movie people leadofy to marry your own son, I swear, wowie Even in the picture, but, Aurora went relentlessly on, I knew right off that bad Birju had the hots for his gorgeous ma And now, Rushdie s own careful comment on the movie, which can be seen both in and out of context of the novel In Mother India, a piece of Hindu myth making directed by a Muslim socialist, Mehboob Khan, the Indian peasant woman is idealized as bride, mother and producer of sons as long suffering, stoical, loving, redemptive, and conservatively wedded to the maintenance of the status quo But for Bad Birju, cast out from his mother s love, she becomes, as one critic has mentioned, that image of an aggressive, treacherous, annihilating mother who haunts the fantasy life of Indian males And what about the other Mother India, the one that haunted real life India Indira Gandhi, daughter of Nehru, first female PM of India, the one who boldly broke the sanctions on India and went ahead to test India s first nuclear device in Pokhran, and in 1975 she imposed the Emergency when it became clear that she would be removed from her post Like Aurora, she is the heroine and the antiheroine, the mother and the anti mother figure of India s story While the poor and the honest beg and die, or are executed, the rich and the corrupt oil each other and reap its dirty wealth Abraham Zogoiby enters the Underworld negotiations and his business grows exponentially, while Aurora s stars as the beloved Indian artist rise and sink and rise With Uma Sarasvati s machinations that drive mother and son apart, Moor s foray into Mainduck s clan, his prodigal return to his father who then has no use for him and discards him for the second time, it is India we see, everywhere, everywhere This isn t a story about the Moor or the Zogoibys at all It is Rushdie s impeccable skills that make you think that it is about the characters caught up in a particularly eventful century Even though it is about India, the surface story never flags the two are so closely intertwined together that they cannot be told without either going missing Each one tells the other s tale And so, when the characters aren t likeable enough, or deep enough, it is because they aren t meant to be Generalizations are never finely woven like a summary, they have to span over a large slice of time and eschew much of finesse And yet, the characters are deep enough, nuanced enough to keep the reader gripped in the surface story and not just let him her slip into the metaphorical story of India And like the titular paintingThe moor s last sigh , the final act of forgiveness that Aurora bestows upon her son Moor India, and the Moor s tale too is a palimpsest, a painting upon a painting, a superimposition of one tale over the other Two tales that have merged into one, even though they are different Why this deeper story masquerading so convincingly as the surface story, or vice versa Because, my dears, this is what India is A visual deception, a deception nuanced, fine enough to send the unwary casual stroller on the wrong path The Upperworld and the Underworld don t just co exist as allegories, they are the same story itself They are not two sides of the same coin It is not you or me, it is you and me Their threads are so finely enmeshed that to destroy one is to destroy the other too And so, readers, is Rushdie s tale The Zogoibys and India don t just co exist The Zogoibys are not a metaphor for India, a microcosm, a summary of India, a representative of the land It is not India simplified, India for Dummies guidebook They and India are different, but part of the same story.2nd part of the review