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Clerks of the Passage

by Abou Farman

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emigration & immigration
list price: $16.95
also available: eBook
category: Social Science
published: 2012

The roots of this book are real and full of characters and heroic stories of the sort one might expect from migration tales, evoking border crossings past and present.In Abou Farman’s hands the stories turn into a larger meditation on movement, conveyed with humour and a subtle irony. Clerks of the Passage takes us on a journey in the company of some strange and great migrants, from the 3.5 million year-old bipedal hominids of Laetoli, Tanzania, to an Iranian refugee who spent seventeen years in the transit lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport, from Xerxes to Milton to Revelations, from Columbus to Don Quixote to Godot.

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Editorial Review

One of the most intriguing essays I have encountered on matters of movement, transit and migration. Witty, satirical, informative and profound, Farman is a contemporary voice with a deep understanding of the various histories and what connects them. – Rawi Hage, author of De Niro’s Game."Abou Farman follows the legendary and ubiquitous refugee, Ali—the Ali of a thousand fleeting moments of nervous “third world border paranoia” before reaching Passport Control. Now he is the Ali of last minute amnesia for the famously tutored uttering “I am refugee,” the Ali who rips up passports and sticks his finger into the toilet to flush down the last vestiges of a plasticized fake identity, the Ali who smiles as he is let out finally into the normality of life as a taxi driver in Montreal, Canada. And the Ali who is caught and deported as an “illegal” after living for decades, sometimes, in his place of refuge.And in the in-between chapters, Farman decants exquisitely and intelligently on the larger metaphors that encompass the anthropology of walking away as you evolve as a species." --- Rana Bose

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About the Author

Abou Farman

Abou Farman

Abou Farman is an anthropologist, writer and artist. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Bard College, NY, and once worked for the United Nations (DPI).His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Maisonneuve, The Utne Reader, The Globe and Mail and the National Post, garnering two Critic'd Desk Awards from Arc, Canada's National Poetry Magazine, and two Canadian National Magazine Award nominations. His essays have been published in anthologies and textbooks, most recently in Best Canadian Essays 2010. He has been awarded a Banff Centre Literary Journalism residency and a George Marshall Fellowship from City University of New York. His film credits include screenwriter on Sound Barrier (Tribeca Film Festival) and Cut! (Venice Film Festival) and producer on Vegas: Based on a True Story (Venice Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival), all directed by Amir Naderi. As part of the duo caraballo-farman, he has exhibited installation and video art at the Tate Modern, UK, and PS1/MOMA, NY. caraballo-farman has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, a NYFA Fellowship, and residencies at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Art Omi.
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