The Critical Case of a Man Called K

Aziz Mohammed
Translated by Humphrey Davies


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 Mohammed’s measured but forceful writing, this compelling debut has a universality that reaches across time, place, and culture.

Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction



“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.”―Foreword Review


Aziz Mohammed

Aziz Mohammed is a Saudi literary author, born in Khobar City in 1987. His debut novel The Critical Case of a Man Called K was published in 2017 and was shortlisted in 2018 for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, known as the “Arabic Booker.” He was the youngest and the first debut author to be shortlisted in the history of this prestigious 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.

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 others. He lives in Cairo, Egypt.

Find out more
  • April 13th 2021
  • $17.95 / £10.99 / LE250
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781649030757

© American University in Cairo Press 2022|Website made by Bookswarm