Welcome to the world of Kafka in Tangier

You can start with this Q/A from ArabLit.

Jawad is a Kafkaesque hero who drags his nightmare with him from the reality of illusion to the illusion of the reality in which he resides. In the novel Kafka in Tangier, Moroccan novelist Mohammed Said Hjiouij takes us to the world of Kafka's metamorphosis and the transformation of his famous hero to construct a parallel Moroccan world: a nightmare that is at its heart a reality that haunts us all.

The hero here is the counterpart of the hero there, and although the monster’s shape differs, along with the geography, time period, and language, the reality of the individual and his transformations do not differ no matter how far he travels through time and space.

The writing treads on solid narrative ground, not lacking in irony, bitterness, or the construction of precise descriptions that lengthen and shorten, expand and contract with great caution, the caution of a short novel wary of becoming bloated with details, heroes and words.

A putrid smell, a numbness tinged by pins and needles, wetness between the thighs -- thus the narrator sets the stage for the catastrophe that will befall the hero, slowly, neither hurried nor hesitant. What awaits us next?

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The crew

The author Mohammed Said Hjiouij and the translator Phoebe Bay Carter.

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Arabic cover

Subscribe to Kafka in Tangier

A translation in progress of the Novella. One chapter per week in your inbox. Translated by Phoebe Bay Carter. Your review and comments are very welcome.


Moroccan novelist. "By Night in Tangier" (winner, Ismail Fahd Ismail Prize), "The Riddle of Edmond Amran El Maleh" (shortlisted, Ghassan Kanafani Prize), "Kafka in Tangier" (translated into English and Kurmanji, with excerpts in Hebrew and Italian).