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The Hospitality House: A novel

Claire Harlan Orsi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Hospitality House takes place in 2011 in an invented neighborhood in Northwest Chicago, in a building with a storied history that housed three generations of the main character's family. The novel follows this protagonist—Wade Bernardi, a recent college graduate and community activist—and his girlfriend Eden Thomas, as they attempt to reclaim the building from a developer they view as unsavory. As the couple's unconventional form of protest dovetails with the Occupy movement, the squatters and the building they inhabit become an unlikely symbol for resistance to gentrification and housing injustice. ^ The novel's point of view primarily focuses on Wade and his girlfriend but also shifts to other characters who have different stakes in the community including the developer, a teenager down the street and a sociologist who studies changing city dynamics. These multiple lenses allow for an examination of class fractures within city neighborhoods, the consequences of both upward and downward social mobility, and activism in an age of commodification.^

Subject Area

Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Harlan Orsi, Claire, "The Hospitality House: A novel" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3689628.