—Poupeh Missaghi, Asymptote Journal
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.
—Mohamad Saleh, The Culture Trip
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.
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.
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.
—Marina Warner, The London Review of Books
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.
—Laila Lalami, The Nation
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.
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.