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

A playful and erudite look at the origins of language

The Tongue of Adam

Nonfiction by Abdelfattah Kilito

Translated from the French by Robyn Creswell

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published November 22, 2016)

ISBN
9780811224932
Price US
13.95
Trim Size
5 x 8
Page Count
128

Ebook (published November 22, 2016)

ISBN
9780811224949

Abdelfattah Kilito

Abdelfattah Kilito is a Moroccan author who has published several books in Arabic and French.

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