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. Seldom are the threads of such narratives woven together and imbued with the originality of insight brought to the page by Farman. In some cases, money changes hands, fake ID cards are printed, military release papers are forged, and in secret meetings shivery with anxiety and excitement, a place and a time are whispered. On arrival, three magic words: “I am refugee. ” Telling modern tales of transit, Farman ranges far and wide on the migratory map of human history, focusing on such themes as border posts and paradise, surveillance and passports, Third World Border Hysteria and homeland.
Abou Farman is an anthropologist, writer and artist whose 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 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. Clerks of the Passage is his first book.