The Beauty of Humanity Movement

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Book - 2010
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Set in contemporary Vietnam, this is the story of a country undergoing momentous change and the story of how family is defined — not always by bloodlines but by the heart. Tu' is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a company called New Dawn. While he leads tourists through the city, including American vets on "war tours," he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam —and what they miss entirely. Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most her life in the U.S., has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father's disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has lived through decades of political upheaval and has still found a way to feed hope to his community of pondside dwellers. This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2010
Description: 297 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780385663229
Branch Call Number: Gibb


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Mar 26, 2017

Gibb captures the real feel of Hanoi in snapshots of street life, political oppression, restaurants, squalor, art and poetry, both now and in fleshing out the past. In these scenes she inserts people we can believe in – a young tour guide, an American art curator who is Vietnamese born, and old but expert pho (soup) maker, martyrs for freedom of speech, a new generation of rap political protestors. Gibb layers them in ever changing combinations and situations as the story moves along, just like a good bowl of layered pho.

Sep 17, 2016

I liked this book. It gives a glimpse of a people whose lives were ruined by a judgemental political party which had no sense of proportion in deciding who was corrupt and bourgeois, crushing creativity and commerce. It is sad but their resilience prevails and life goes on. I think the descriptions are very vivid and the characters are likeable and well-drawn.

Feb 16, 2016

What Ms Gibb lacks in the narrative, she makes up for in the descriptive. An easy, interesting read but not worthy of five stars in a literary sense. What kept the pages turning for me - who was a teenager during the tumultuous years of the US involvement in Nam - was a glimpse at the history and sociopolitical evolution in the lives of the North Vietnamese as seen through the eyes of the main characters.

Oct 11, 2015

Set in post war Vietnam this book is about Maggie, a Vietnamese who was brought up in America. She goes back to Vietnam to find the story of her father an artist who paid with his life during the revolution. The central character in the book is Old Man Hung who collects a crowd around his Pho pot and whose memories go back a long way. Maggie meets Hung through a young tour guide, Tu and the rest is the story. A well written account of a terrible period in Vietnamese history.

RPLRebecca Sep 03, 2014

Don’t let the strange title put you off. This captivating novel by Camilla Gibb spans three generations in Vietnam - during and after the Vietnam War. The “Beauty of Humanity Movement” is a group of artists and intellectuals who question Communist rule. The story follows this artists' collective and their friends and families but the central element of the book isn't a character, but rather, pho, a delicious soup served for breakfast. This is one flavourful novel you won’t soon forget!

SusanWool Mar 15, 2014

I loved this book. The author really captured the feeling of present-day Vietnam and the struggles of the country and her people and presenting history in a way that makes it come alive with characters who are three-dimensional and real and immensely appealing. And using pho, the Hanoi beef soup which is more than just a food, more like the soul of a country, as a touchstone, was brilliant. A tragic history, but with hope for the future as well. I am very sad to discover that Camilla Gibb's other novels are not available to borrow except as e-books or to read in the reading room.

Susan March 14, 2014

Mar 03, 2014

Love this book.

Mar 24, 2013

Oh, what a beautiful, wonderful book. At first I thought I would resist it, since I wasn't sure how to pronounce the names and thought that would trip me up all the way through - but very quickly, the story took me over. Moving, touching, affirming. All you need to know, really, is that it's about a man who makes soup in Hanoi, Vietnam; he is the locus and the catalyst for all that happens. There is a handful of other important characters, all connected to him. The layering and texture of this novel is marvellous. AshRichards' comment about the ending surprises me very much - I couldn't have asked for anything more.

AshRichards Oct 02, 2012

Great beginning, satisfying middle and rushed, superficial ending.

It is the talent of the author that she created such enveloping characters, but it is also the fault for not thoroughly fleshing out an ending that the characters deserved.

alicia_marinache Aug 23, 2012

A very profound story: Mrs. Gibb captured the horrors of the communist / revolutionary society very well, and managed to paint a vivid and sad picture of it. I have rarely read a book so well-written about communism, and this book helped me understand some points I always missed about Vietnam (although I grew up in a communist Easter-European country). Going to check her other works, as well some history books :)

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LudditeLord Jun 20, 2012

quotes Old Man Hung "Consult Buddha on matters of the heart. Ask the ancestors for help with business. This is responsible capitalism."

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