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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.
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