The Moors Last Sigh

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THE MOOR'S LAST SIGH Summary The Moor's Last Sigh tells the family history of Moraes Zogoiby, known as "the Moor." He is the last survivor of a family descended from the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (ca.1469-1524), who sailed to India in search of spice and whose offspring grew rich in shipping it to the West. Among his ancestors, Moraes also numbers Boabdil (Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad XI, ca. 1460-1527), the last Muslim king in Spain, forced in 1492 to surrender his city to Ferdinand and Isabella. The spot from which Boabdil gazed for the last time at Granada is today a tourist attraction, known as 'The Last Sigh of the Moor.' His descendents, who made their way to southern India, took, as their family name, his nickname, "Zogoiby" - "The Unfortunate." Another branch of the family descended from Black Jews who immigrated to Cochin, India, and built a synagogue in 1568. It, too, is a famous landmark, preserved to this day. Moraes concentrates on the last four generations of his ancestors, spanning the first eight decades of the twentieth century. At every point in this fictional tale, authentic history is interwoven. We first meet Moraes at age thirty-six in Spain, breathless, on the run, and determined that his quirky family's story will not perish when he dies. He introduces first his mother, Aurora, as a young girl and offers detailed depictions of her close relatives that help us understand how she could evolve into the strong, difficult character who would destroy the one true love of her only son's life, cast him out of her home and life, and, unreconciled, suffer a tragic, accidental death. The pain of these events fills Moraes' story long before the circumstances are relayed. As we grow familiar with Moraes' maternal relatives, "the battling da Gamas of Cochin" - great grandmother, Epifania, and her husband, Francisco, grandmother, Belle, and
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