Un soir de printemps, après avoir quitté le diner dont il est propriétaire, Driss Guerraoui, un Américain d'origine marocaine, est brutalement renversé par une voiture et meurt sur le coup. Le chauffeur du véhicule, lui, prend la fuite.
La nouvelle de sa disparition est un choc pour sa famille, et ravive des blessures et des questionnements que tous auraient préféré laisser derrière eux. Cette mort est-elle un tragique accident de la route, ou faut-il y voir la marque d'un crime raciste ? Car si les Guerraoui sont l'exemple type d'une immigration réussie, la société américaine n'en a peut-être pas fini avec le rejet de l'autre. Nora, la fille cadette de Driss, en est persuadée.
Sur fond d'enquête, plusieurs personnages prennent la parole à tour de rôle pour raconter leur histoire. Ces voix s'unissent et se contredisent pour relater leur quotidien dans l'Amérique d'aujourd'hui, et font de la petite ville de Californie où se déroule ce roman le théâtre de ses tensions identitaires les plus enfouies.
In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America--a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record.
In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés.
But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril--navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expeditions treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantess Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.
The Moors Account brilliantly captures Estebanicos voice and vision, giving us an alternate narrative for this famed expedition. As the dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popular belief, black men played a significant part in New World exploration and Native American men and women were not merely silent witnesses to it. In Laila Lalamis deft hands, Estebanicos memoir illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, even as storytelling can offer a chance for redemption and survival.
From the Hardcover edition.
When a young man is given the chance to rewrite his future, he doesn't realize the price he will pay for giving up his past...
Casablanca's stinking alleys are the only home that nineteen-year-old Youssef El-Mekki has ever known. Raised by his mother in a one-room home, the film stars flickering on the local cinema's screen offer the only glimmer of hope to his frustrated dreams of escape. Until, that is, the father he thought dead turns out to be very much alive.
A high profile businessman with wealth to burn, Nabil is disenchanted with his daughter and eager to take in the boy he never knew. Soon Youssef is installed in his penthouse and sampling the gold-plated luxuries enjoyed by Casablanca's elite. But as he leaves the slums of his childhood behind him, he comes up against a starkly un-glittering reality...
In 1527 the Spanish conquistador P??nfilo de Narv??ez arrived on the coast of modern-day Florida with hundreds of settlers, and claimed the region for Spain. Almost immediately, the expedition was decimated by a combination of navigational errors, disease, starvation and fierce resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year, only four survivors remained: three noblemen and a Moroccan slave called ???Estebanico???. The official record, set down after a reunion with Spanish forces in 1536, contains only the three freemen???s accounts. The fourth, to which the title of Laila Lalami???s masterful novel alludes, is Estebanico???s own. Lalami gives us Estebanico as history never did: as Mustafa, the vibrant merchant from Azemmur forced into slavery and a new name, and reborn as the first black explorer of the Americas, discovering and being discovered by various tribes both hostile and compassionate. In Estebanico???s telling, the survivors??? journey across great swathes of the New World transforms would-be conquerors into humble servants and fearful outcasts into faith healers. He remains ever-observant, resourceful and hopeful that he might one day find his way back to his family, even as he experiences an unexpected (if ambiguous) camaraderie with his masters. The Moor???s Account illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, and how storytelling can offer a chance for redemption, reinvention and survival.