Book Review: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
August 6, 2011 12 Comments
I got this beautiful book, a hardback, in a giveaway from Audra at Unabridged Chick.
The story sounded interesting and it most certainly was. The writing was exquisite too.
The Beauty of Humanity Movement: What it is about
This is the story of Hu’ng, a pho (soup) seller and Maggie, an American with Vietnamese parents. When Maggie comes to Vietnam to find information about her father who died when she was young, she comes across Hu’ng, an old and poor pho seller who works in the streets of Hanoi.
He used to have a small restaurant where artists, like Maggie’s father, used to come together, until they were arrested by the communist government and put into re-education camps.
Hu’ng is not sure whether he remembers Maggie’s father. Maggie gets some help from a tourist guide, Tu’ and the three of them eventually find out more about Maggie’s father and the movement he was a member of, the Beauty of Humanity Movement.
Interwoven in the story is the love story of Hu’ng and his neighbor Lan, who haven’t spoken to each other for 40 years.
This is a story about hardship and betrayal, but also about friendship and love.
The Beauty of Humanity Movement: What I thought
I had never heard of pho and I have no particular interest in knowing about Vietnam or its history. The sign of a good writer is when she can make you interested in the story anyway. And that is what Camilla Gibb did.
It only took a few pages to feel attached to Hu’ng and to care for his well-being. The other main characters were introduced one by one and they were interesting too: Tu’ the tourist guide who has memorized lots of useless bits of information, Maggie, the American Vietnamese who is desperate to find a trace of her father’s past existence, Lan, the quiet neighbor who is always nearby but never talks or looks at Hu’ng.
The story never felt forced. During the book, more and more is revealed about Hu’ng, about the possible directions in life that Maggie’s father took, and about Lan. It never seemed that the author was forcing new information on the reader so that the reader would have all the information together at the end of the book. Instead, it all came very naturally.
The writing style was really good. Most of the book was written in the present tense, which worked really well, there was a feeling of being there, right there, while it happened.
I loved this book and will be looking out for other books by this author!
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got this book: from Audra at Unabridged Chick in a giveaway
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 320
First published: 2011 (March)
Genre: contemporary fiction, literary fiction