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Professor Haq’s Book Discussion Coverage

Faizan Haq’s Book Discussion on Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account Coverage

By Bridget Fallon

WNY Muslims founder, Faizan Haq, led a discussion of Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account to an intimate group of thirty Just Buffalo Literary Center Babel series members on Monday, October 24th. Haq told the people attending the event (at Betty’s restaurant on 370 Virginia St. Buffalo) the same advice he gave to his students at UB and Buffalo State College which is to summarize, analyze and then criticize a book to get the most out of it.

To summarize, The Moor’s Account tells the fictional story of the Muslim Moroccan slave of Cabeza de Vaca, named Estevanico (often referred to in the book as Mustafa) who was one of the four survivors of the Narvaez expedition. Eventually, this group of four is found by a squad of Spanish slavers and brought to Mexico City. There, they are asked to provide testimony about their journey—all except the slave, who tells his own story in the novel.

The group members analyzed the book according to its reoccurring themes. Mustafa’s trials and tribulations demonstrate that time has not changed the harsh nature of humanity. Other topics explained were the concept of slaves in American vs. Islamic cultures, victors writing history, personal emotional baggage and international relations relating to the acquisition of land.

The group criticized the book by noting its slow nature initially, adapting to manuscript style of that era the story was told in and the sad feeling that reader is left after finishing the book.

The author of the book discussed, Laila Lalami, will be speaking on Wednesday, November 9th at 8pm at Kleinhans Music Hall. For ticket details, click here.

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