Clerks of the Passage
An LLP Singles essay
Migration stories, says Abou Farman, are often told through the personal struggles and travails of the migrant, "the great voyager figure of our most recent centuries, the harbinger of hybridity, the metaphor for risk, sacrifice, toil, abuse, inhumanity. And humanity." These are the stories (both horrific and redemptive) that we hear about in the news, in taxis and airports, in bars and corner coffee shops. They are both real and existential, shared, denied, argued about, internalized. 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.
An international literary debut. Cover and interior illustrations by the author.
Abou Farman is a Canadian artist and anthropologist teaching at the New School for Social Research in NY. Born in Tehran, he left Iran in 1979 and arrived in Canada in 1989. He has published widely in the academic sphere as well as the popular press, with essays nominated for a National Magazine Award in Canada, selected for the Best Canadian Essays and twice awarded the Arc Critics Desk Award. Linda Leith published his first book, Clerks of the Passage, in 2012; a French translation by Marianne Champagne, Les lieux de passage, is published by Linda Leith Éditions in 2016.
As part of the artist duo caraballo-farman, formed with his late partner Leonor Caraballo, Abou has exhibited work internationally in galleries, museums and other venues, including at the Tate Modern, UK; PS1/MOMA, NY, and the Havana Biennial. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Amongst other film work and credits, he was producer on Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi’s Vegas: Based on a True Story, which was in competition at the Venice and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2008, and is producer and co-writer of a 2016 narrative feature film, Icaros: A Vision, co-directed by Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi.