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The Interesting Case of a Saudi Novel
About the episode
In Aziz Muhammad’s The Critical Case of a Man Named K, an unnamed narrator is diagnosed with leukemia. His 40-week journal, shaped by his readings of Kafka, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, sarcastically and movingly documents his alienation from his body, his surroundings and even, eventually, from books.
An interview with translator Humphrey Davies.
We also talked about a few other works where protagonists are diagnosed with cancer:Shahla Ujayli’s A Sky So Close to Us, translated by Michelle Hartman (Interlink Books); Radwa Ashour’s Heavier than Radwa (Dar Al Shorouk), although this is a memoir; Haifa al-Bitar’s A Woman of This Modern Age (Dar Saqi); Hassan Daoud’s No Road to Paradise, translated by Marilyn Booth (Hoopoe Fiction).
We also mention some Saudi books that have won awards or attracted international attention, such as Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea and The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem.