Abdelfattah Kilito

Abdelfattah Kilito

The Tongue of Adam

Nonfiction by Abdelfattah Kilito

Translated from the French by Robyn Creswell

More Information

The Clash of Images

Fiction by Abdelfattah Kilito

Translated from the Arabic by Robyn Creswell

More Information

Abdelfattah Kilito turns his obsession with ‘the fact of language’ into a thrilling tour de force that invites us to rethink the myths of our human origins, leading us into a labyrinthine wonder world of linguistic inquiries.

—Poupeh Missaghi, Asymptote Journal

The Tongue of Adam is a quiet intellectual indictment of racial, ethnic, and national chauvinism, a text which derives an egalitarian beginning to language from the oldest of religious traditions. A brilliant and necessary book.

—Mohamad Saleh, The Culture Trip

Yet his commentary on the age-old debate, though minimal and mostly contained in an afterword, reveals his personal connection to the subject as a writer in both French and Arabic, making the work both poignant and relevant for contemporary readers.

Publishers Weekly

Abdelfattah Kilito’s The Tongue of Adam is the rarest of essays: intensely focused and full of surprises, instructive and illuminating. To read this book is to set out on an astonishing and unique voyage through classical Arabic literature.

—Daniel Heller-Roazen

Borges’s afterglow falls on Kilito’s pages, and he shares the Argentinian’s relish for puzzles, mazes, and riddling forms, as well as a love of pulp on one hand and the rare and raffiné on the other, al-Jahiz’s philosophy of discretion alongside Tintin, Sufi metaphysical lyrics and the Queen of the Serpents’ spells. Kilito is a mandarin who likes comic books.

—Marina Warner, The London Review of Books

One would be hard-pressed to find a Moroccan writer who is more respected by his peers and more appreciated by his readers than Abdelfattah Kilito.

—Laila Lalami, The Nation

Reading Kilito for me has always been a kind of adventure. We normally speak of writing as an adventure, but Kilito dares his reader to travel with him, on a quest to override the boundaries between reality and fiction, between literary criticism and storytelling.

—Elias Khoury
< C. H. Sisson Toming Jun Liu >