The Scrolls of Mud City

Saud Alsanousi

An intricately crafted fictional trilogy, completing in Autumn 2024, with all three to be abridged into one volume for outside the Arabic world.

It’s 1986 and the novelist Sadiq Bouhadab is suffering from writer’s block when an old man in a wheelchair visits him in his office. The old man tells him that he has strange stories to tell that would make a great novel – but they will definitely get him into trouble!

Sadiq is not worried about the trouble as he is very accustomed to problems with government censorship. After hearing the old man’s stories, Sadiq starts writing a trilogy based on events that took place in Kuwait in the time before oil. About an infant kidnapped from his parents in the year 1920, a difficult year in Kuwait, involving tangled relationships of politics, tribal wars, the slave trade, the British presence, and the establishment of the American Evangelical mission. Involving time travel and fortune tellers, a powerful family tale.

‘I believe that I have not read an epic work since Al-Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz and Cities of Salt by Munif, and I can only place this work in the ranks of those epic works. Here the historical playfully intersects with the legendary, with the realistic. The setting intersects with the story. He makes you believe the game. You follow the work of the literary editor and what he writes in the margin. He plays with your nerves and your patience. The flow of the story continues smoothly, transporting you from one character to another. Lives intersect. Together, each character has the right to exist. They stand in solidarity with some, get upset and sad with each other, and on top of that, it is a work that encourages the reader to continue reading. It is a work written with patience and experience, and in my opinion it is the most beautiful of Alsanousi’s works. Here is pure beauty that deserves to be read.’ Omani novelist Zahran Alqasimi, the IPAF winner 2023

‘I have read dozens of novels by Kuwaiti novelists and writers, and most of them are good novels, and a few of them are distinguished, but The Scrolls of Mud City occupies a special place.’ Ahmad Alsarraf, Al-Qabas newspaper

‘Saud Alsanousi’s novel is a serious narrative work that shows the novel can weave history, society, and politics together in an entertaining the story.’ Prof. Saad Al-Bazai

‘This novel clearly shows that Saud Alsanousi is inaugurating a new phase in his literary project.’ Sudanese novelist Hammour Ziada on Al Araby TV

‘This novel is like a room arranged with matryoshka dolls – a doll inside a doll – and a story inside a story, or perhaps it’s more that maps lead to other maps and evidence brings more evidence.  In this work, Alsanousi offers something new on an artistic level, while also returning to storytelling full of simulation, fantasy, and local mythology.’ Tasneem Alhabeeb, Takween website

The Scrolls of Mud City expands the idea of the ‘novel’, and breathes new life into the ‘historical novel’ genre. It is an epic in the Greek sense, driven by a tragedy that created the present and its geography. It is a text of intersecting destinies, the sea and the sands that hide our secrets.” Algerian novelist Wassini Al-Araj

‘I congratulate Saud Al-Sanousi – an epic and foundational work that will remain for a long time. A unique work with its characters, events and legends, and with the sea, which is an amazing real character in this novel.’ Palestinian novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah

‘It is impossible to predict the future of Arabic literature, especially since the disappointments are too numerous to count, but this novel has dug a deserved place for itself.’ Syrian critic Yazan al-Hajj

‘The Scrolls of Mud City trilogy is a bold narrative epic, a lesson in encyclopedic culture and the art of capturing details, an inspiring narrative masterpiece that will remain in memory for a long time. Saud Alsanousi can rest now that he has completed this novel of a lifetime. But will he? I am sure he will immediately start climbing a new peak.’ Omani critic Dr. Mona Habras Al-Sulaimiya


  • Moulaph Publications Arabic
  • Storyside Arabic audio (volumes 1 & 2)

Material: Full Arabic text of the first two volumes