Refugee Hotel

(photogs.). McSweeney's. 2012. 296p. ed. by Juliet Linderman. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781936365623. pap. $25. PHOTOGRAPHY
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.
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