The Beauty of Humanity Movement
This is a delightful book set in Hanoi that darts back and forth in time, building up a history and weaving together the lives of several characters. It is a must for visitors who want to experience the city through writing, Hanoi just lifts off the pages. In this novel the reader truly does experience the city through author Camilla Gibb's eyes.
When we were in Hanoi we naturally had Pho several times; all we can say now is that we wished we had tried Chả Cá also. Here's a lit...more
The concepts may result in a bit of a formula,...more
It is a rapidly transforming Vietnam, built on communist guidelines yet steadily embracing Western capitalism. Canadian author Camilla Gibb’s convincing-enough depiction of modern Vietnam and its people probably owes much to her doctorate in anthropology, although it is unlikely to offer reader...more
This book represented that to me.
This book touches on the history of Vietnam before, during and after the conflict engaged between the North and the South.
I have to admit that I initially felt let down by cover art as it illustrates a scene of a Vietnamese male on a sampan. The title alone hints at the intellectual challenge that awaits the reader between the pages. Fortunately, while there is much that presents difficulty in it's explanation of the political history of Vietnam a...more
Like rummaging through attics and ancestors’ storerooms, the characters in Gibb's novel are all struggling, to collect, process and redefine not only their p...more
This is a beautifully written and atmospheric novel by Camilla Gibb. Beauty is set in contemporary Vietnam but encompasses a hard look at the cost of the last seventy years of Vietnam history through the eyes of three individuals. In Hanoi, Old Man Hung’s pho is famous. Pho is a soup that is “a combination of the rice noodles that predominated after a thousand years of Chinese occupation and the taste for beef the Vietnamese acquired under the French” and that combination of cultures and conquer...more
“Set in contemporary Vietnam, this is the story of a country undergoing momentous change, a story that transforms our notion of how family is defined-not always by bloodlines but by the heart. Tu’ is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a co...more
There's a lot of sorrow in this book, but there's enough optimism to keep it from being unread...more
I was stunned by this novel. As a Vietnamese Canadian, unfortunately I've never delved into Vietnam's past on my father's side of the family. After reading this, I have a newfound spark to discover more through books and first-person accounts of their experiences. And being in this situation, I sympathized with Maggie, who is on a journey to find out who her father was after their separation, but is labelled as an outside I've come to care about all the characters in this no...more
There is something discordant about the timeless portrait of Vietnam that adorns the front cover of Camilla Gibb’s cumbersomely titled book, The Beauty of Humanity Movement. The effect is heightened by a title that suggests forces of progress and disruption, not the stasis of pastoral tranquility. The disunion of cover and title, unfortunately, is reflective of the book’s larger failures. In a strange simulacrum, Gibb’s book is uncomfortably close to the “benign, nationalistic art the Party stil...more
I loved this book, so full of feeling and emotion - but the Kindle version has formatting problems and all the Vietnamese words appear huge in comparison to the remaining script. As this includes all the names, the problem occurs several times on most pages. This has resulted in several Amazon.com reviewers rating the book as 1 or 2 stars where it should definitely be up in the top rankings.
The main character, Old Man Hung, is a master at the art of...more
Do I like the cover?: Yes, but -- in the novel, there's a discussion about how the pastoral art featuring Vietnamese countrysides really whitewashes what modern Vietnam is like -- so it seems like a missed opportunity by not featuring something more urban.
Review: The best books are those that can take a topic or plot that is alien to you and yet make...more
“Binh really is a son to him, if not by blood, then certainly through his devotion. What is blood without relationship,without life shared, in any case? Hung has come to believe it is little more than something red” (8).
“Tu likes the Canadians, even if their most exciting invention was only the garbage bag. (Really. In 1950 by Mr. Harry Wasylyk of Winnipeg, Manitoba.)” (16).
“Maggie found herself in a world...more
Heading = From the Future to the Past to the Present
I had myriad of emotions while reading this heartfelt story. I was grateful to the author for writing a book which focused on the people of the northern part of Vietnam and their need to free themselves from the colonial presences and in the end retained a different yoke on their souls. I was sadden to once again be reminded that war damages people far longer than the conflict itself and is never-ending. I was amazed by the resilien...more
"Camilla Gibb, born in 1968, is the author of three novels, Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life and Sweetness in the Belly, as well as numerous short stories, articles and reviews.
She was the winner of the Trillium Book Award in 2006, a Scotiabank Giller Prize short list nominee in 2005, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award in 2000 and the reci...more