Refugee Hotel

Overview

The Refugee Hotel is a groundbreaking collection of photography and interviews that documents the arrival of refugees in the United States. A lavishly designed book, its stunning images are coupled with moving testimonies from people describing their first days in the U.S., the lives they’ve left behind, and the new communities they’ve since created. Among the narrators:

PSAW WAH BAW, who was forced to flee her village in Burma amidst armed conflict. She describes how her family...

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Overview

The Refugee Hotel is a groundbreaking collection of photography and interviews that documents the arrival of refugees in the United States. A lavishly designed book, its stunning images are coupled with moving testimonies from people describing their first days in the U.S., the lives they’ve left behind, and the new communities they’ve since created. Among the narrators:

PSAW WAH BAW, who was forced to flee her village in Burma amidst armed conflict. She describes how her family left their village with just five cups of rice, beginning an arduous journey toward resettlement that would take them through Bangkok, Tokyo, Illinois, and Texas.

PASTOR NOEL, who fled the civil war in Burundi in 1972 for a refugee camp in Congo. When war erupted in Congo in 1996, Noel was once again forced from his home. He now lives in Mobile, Alabama, and is a central figure in the African refugee community.

FELIX, a South Sudanese man who joined the rebel army as a teenager but eventually fled to a refugee camp in Kenya. Felix now lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he works with Habitat for Humanity to assist African refugees in purchasing their own homes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Photographer Stabile and journalist Linderman present the images and words of refugees to the U.S. in this compact, beautiful volume. A portion of the book is dedicated to the oral testimony of Stabile’s subjects and their friends and neighbors, cross-sampling the experiences of people forced to leave Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Somalia. Indisputably, though, the book’s main focus is on the photographs that Stabile has been taking, in black and white and color, of refugees since encountering an Ethiopian family at a New York City hotel in 2007. His moody but not overly affected work captures both the public anonymity of the airports and hotels where these immigrants first arrive and the intimacy of the homes and neighborhoods where they settle. Linderman sets the scene for the interviews and photos with brief, workmanlike primers on the resettlement process, the countries of origin covered, and the cities—including Mobile, Ala.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Charlottesville, Va.; Erie, Pa.; and Fargo, N.Dak.—where she and Stabile tracked down people they first met as new arrivals. The lack of captions, in particular clear identifications of the interviewees, may frustrate some, but also aids the authors’ willingness to let their subjects’ words and pictures speak for themselves. Linderman and Stabile resist the temptation to attempt an all-encompassing message, content to simply capture often ignored experiences. Photos. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In this new work by photographer Stabile and freelance reporter Linderman, readers will be mesmerized by images of refugees' first disorienting night in the United States in airport hotels. The text relates the individual stories of the refugees in the photographs—many have spent years in refugee camps—and outlines their arduous, indirect paths to their new homes, which are depicted in the pictorial section. Among the narrators are Psaw Wah Baw, who fled her native Burma amid armed conflict and whose family's journey to resettlement took them through Bangkok, Tokyo, Illinois, and Texas, and Pastor Noel, who escaped civil war in Burundi in 1972, only to be forced from his new home in the Congo because of war in 1996. The title also includes an overview of the processes involved in resettlement, as well as a profile of the human rights situations in each of the refugees' home countries, which gives the book a cohesive sense of purpose. The text and photographs could each stand alone, but together, they intensify the impact of the work. VERDICT Owing to the relevancy of immigration issues in contemporary society, this book is a timely addition to other works on the topic. Stabile and Linderman remind readers of the unique experience with which each person undertakes the resettlement process. This title is recommended for readers with an interest in the immigration experience and those affected by immigration policies, but will also be accessible to general-interest readers.—Rachael Dreyer, American Heritage Ctr., Laramie, WY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936365623
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Series: Voice of Witness
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriele Stabile is an Italian photographer based in New York City. His photography has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Juliet Linderman is a reporter living in Brooklyn. Formerly the editor of a small community newspaper, she has written for many publications including the New York Times and the Village Voice.

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