“Kalaj is the rough draft of who I am. I am the finished copy. The one where the erasures have been made, where the rough spots have been polished. I’m as roughshod as he is, except I’ve learned to hide it. I also have a singular advantage: I am legal, he is not. I go to Harvard, a patrician institution; he’s a cab driver, a servant. That makes us very different. The young man I was then didn’t care — or at least a good part of me didn’t care — that he was a cab driver. He spoke my language, we understood each other totally, we shared centuries of common history.”
If you live in NYC, DC, or Boston, don’t miss hearing André Aciman discuss immigration, narrative identity, and Harvard Square in person at one of his scheduled events.