27 October
Book Club on Zoom

About the book

After reading Kafka, K decides to write his own diary, but he is constantly frustrated by his lack of experiences: he is worn down by the drudgery of his corporate job for a faceless corporation and by his incessant family obligations.

When he receives the news that he has leukemia, he finds himself torn between a sense of devastation and a revelation that he has finally found a way out of his writing predicament. Through Aziz Mohammed’s measured but forceful writing, this compelling debut has a universality that reaches across time, place, and culture.

The Arabic original, which is the author's first novel, was shortlisted for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

The translation, by Humphrey Davies, is published by Hoopoe Fiction. 266 pages

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Aziz Mohammed is from Saudi Arabia, born in Khobar City in 1987. The Critical Case of a Man Called K is his debut novel. It was published in 2017 and was shortlisted in 2018 for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. He was the youngest and the first debut author to be shortlisted in the history of the IPAF prize. He has since participated in cultural programs of literary festivals, book fairs, and cultural centers all around the Middle East as a literary author and cinema critic.  Read more

Humphrey Davies
is an award-winning literary translator of Arabic into English. He received first class honors in Arabic at Cambridge University and holds a doctorate in Near East Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He has won and been shortlisted for numerous literary prizes, and has twice been awarded the prestigious Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. He has translated Naguib Mahfouz, Elias Khoury, Mourid Barghouti, Alaa Al-Aswany, and Bahaa Taher, among many others. He lives in Cairo, Egypt. Read more

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Hoopoe Fiction quotes from a number of reviews:

“Darkly humorous. . . [explores] the tension and love between children and parents, and the fragility of the system when love and tradition don’t always move parallel to one another.”—Manal Shakir, Arab News

“In his first novel, the author managed to create a unique balance between his observations of the community and himself; between sweetness and pain; sadness and irony; the depth of experience and the flow of the narrative. This is a novel that touches the soul.”―Muhammad Abdelnabi, ArabLit

“This engaging novel is written in a diary format, with the protagonist recording his daily battles with life in a sarcastic voice. The narrative flows smoothly . . . his story [is] interesting and touching.”―Ruba Obaid, Arab News

“Compelling . . . well-timed, humorous observations . . . [the narrator’s] story progresses toward deeper understanding of the human condition.”―  Read full review at Foreword Review