This is a book about the movement of people across borders. Its roots are real and full of characters and heroic stories of the sort one might expect from migration tales. These 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.
"'You are born once from your mother's womb, and a second time from the belly of a 747.' Abou Farman tells the story of migrants and of migration with the formal audacity of having lived and outlived it--being born again onto it, as it were. These are not migration stories that solicit or even generate your sympathies. No--these stories transform you into a different plane. I have always thought there is no more home from which to be exiled. Now I see why and how that same idea can be drawn in formal outlines. Abou Farman is the closest thing to Juan Goytisolo I have read in recent years--making of migration and exile not an exception but an existential condition --of being, of existence itself, of passage as presence. Uncanny." -- Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University.