Kirkus Reviews has reviewed Refuge! "Holden’s inspired prose forms a kaleidoscope of emotion, oscillating from the elegiac to the gorgeous to the humorous and self-deprecating....The collection is poetic and entrancing."
You can read the rest of the wonderful review here.
Advance Praise for Refuge:
“The story we need to hear right now in the only voice that can tell it.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan, Chronology of Water, and The Small Backs of Children
“Ming Holden is living an extraordinary life. These stories weave its many strands together in evocative, tender, and sometimes heartbreaking ways.”—Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America
“To aim yourself and to stumble, in your twenties, without the blessing of money, all across the world into the meanings of your life, into the meanings of the lives of others: it doesn’t happen to many. And very few would have the lush, the significant writerly gifts to render the experiences so strikingly. It is as though each journey, each foreign and familiar place mines Ming Holden and makes visible her thoughtful, tender, aching, passionate self.”—Forrest Gander, author of As A Friend
“In Refuge, Ming Holden speaks of her work with refugees in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, but also of a young American’s discovery of our wide, tragic, blessed world. Aware of her story’s irony, she writes of finding refuge among those to whom she offered service—this is a classic story, but one unusual for a young white woman to be telling. Refuge is a coming-of-age story for our time.”—Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
“Evocative, penetratingly intelligent, and propelled by a fierce and tender sense of empathy, Ming Holden’s writing dwells close to the living, beating heart of her material. Read this compelling and thought-provoking collection of essays if you want to be challenged, innervated, inspired, and astonished.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine
“In Refuge, we have an entertaining and edgy travelogue of a woman in a world of geo-political social structures. Ming Holden’s unique existential framework gets up close: focused and humorous, and then wide, keen and surprising. This double-vision allows the reader the pleasure of a landscape made of inner and outer worlds scanned by beams of consciousness: observed and observing, immersed and removed, intimate and foreign.”—Thalia Field, author of Point and Line
“Refuge deserves the accolades it has received. In it, Ming Holden travels two paths: a lyrical and objective memoirist of her own evolution as a young woman in the 21st Century, she also is a witness to the brutality of her time, specifically to the fate of refugees, victims of political persecution and war. She carries her exquisite self-awareness to the conflict in Syria, camps for the displaced in Africa, and the lonely refuge of exiles in Asia—projecting their sufferings as if they were her own. Such a clear bifocal vision is a rare literary achievement. Journeying with her, we discover a fascinating friend and come to a fresh understanding of the wide world we share with her.”—Mark Minton, former United States Ambassador to Mongolia
“Refuge is that rare memoir, a highly intimate story with global reverberations. Ming Holden’s sensitive and openhearted account of her encounters with refugees all over the world challenged assumptions, both personal and political, that I didn’t know I had. This book aches with radical compassion, shines with easy wit, stuns with frank truth, and sings with miraculous beauty. I read it with astonishment, and walked away from it a better citizen.”—Rachel Lyon, author of Self-Portrait With Boy