There can be a beguiling allure to fictional memoire: the endless possibility of the imagination reinforced by a framework of real events. This idea of truth lies at the heart of The Moor’s Account by Laili Lalami, which is on the long list for the Man Booker Prize 2015. It is told through the eyes of Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-Zamori, a young Moroccan, once rebellious and avaricious, whose first step to redemption is to offer himself up to slavery to provide money for his mother and siblings.
Bought from Portuguese traders by Senor Dorantes, a Castilian nobleman, he is renamed Estebanico, a symbolic stripping away of his identity. The erasure of his history. He is not just a lesser being than his new master. He is no individual being at all. He is taken by his new master on an expedition led by Conquistador Panfilo de Narvaez to claim and settle La Florida on the Gulf Coast of the United States.