Title: Beauty of Humanity Movement, The
Authors: Gibb, Camilla
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 294
Year: 2010
Publisher: Random House
Language: English
Description: Taken to the USA as a child, Maggie Ly is returning to her Vietnamese roots, both in her capacity as a curator and as a daughter seeking to discover what happened to her father, a dissident artist who disappeared at the time of the fall of Saigon. Back in Hanoi, Maggie is aided in her quest by Old Man Hu'ng a pho (soup) maker and Tu, a young tourist guide.

Gently paced and with an intriguing plot, this is a vividly exotic story that thoughtfully captures both past and contemporary Vietnam.

Comments from Groups:

We really liked this book. Many of the group had been to Vietnam & could easily identify with the imagery. Old Man Hung was a fabulous character. Bream 001

We really enjoyed the book-the insights to the history of Vietnam and the struggles of the people. We are so lucky to live in NZ. It was interesting to hear stories from members who had travelled there. Te Puke 001

Excellent book enjoyed by all. Great insight into culture & history of Vietnam. Amazing examples of resilience and self-preservation. Characters all beautifully developed as story progresses. Highly recommend. Auckland 280

All of the group thoroughly enjoyed this book in spite of the many tragic events that occur. It is beautifully written & Gibb's descriptions of the characters makes it easy to visualise them and their activities. We do not agree with the Daily Mail that it is a `funny` book, but definitely `moving and romantic`. Napier 016

Everyone liked the book; great to read about [a] different culture one might not know a lot of. Great to have the questions for discussion as they help to focus on special themes (culture, art, relationships, etc) Wanaka 014

Categories: Fiction, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Human Rights, Political, Vietnam, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups


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By: WANAK 016 2022-01-28 12:36:48
Thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

By: PALMN 029 2021-02-18 12:10:37
A lovely book with lovely characters. The author transported us to Vietnam - engaging all our senses. We learnt some Vietnam history along with a feel for the modern country. Everyone loved it.

By: AUCK 360 2020-10-14 13:19:39
Those that read it (3 didn't) thought it was an insightful introduction to Vietnamese history. Those who had been to Vietnam and eaten pho loved it the most. It dealt lightly with very heavy topics, and the characters were well developed, despite the happily ever after ending. The weaving of food and art into the political analysis was well done. A warm read.

By: AUCK 255 2020-08-19 11:45:06
Mixed reviews from our group. Those of us who had been to Vietnam enjoyed it more.

By: THAM 005 2019-08-01 15:28:23
Generally agreed this was a beautifully written book. People enjoyed the link between food and community and there was some discussion on the role of food especially in other cultures and how it is used to mark events and celebrations. Discussion also on Vietnam's past and the fact that the author purposefully chose to take a positive approach rather than dwell on the horrors. Overall we felt it was a love story on more than one level and thought the author developed the characters well.

By: NAP 023 2018-09-26 13:13:34
Generally a book much enjoyed - lots of discussion re the Ho Chi Minh despotic reign - the antithesis of what the intellectuals in 'The Beauty Of Humanity' expected! Three of our group had visited Vietnam in 93, 96 and early 2000s, so there was much comparing of notes. I personally have purchased a copy to keep.

By: CART 003 2018-09-26 13:10:52
We all really loved this book. Very well written in a gentle style, and very informative about this period in history from a Vietnamese perspective - one we have seldom heard.

By: ALEXA 003 2018-09-26 13:08:28
Beautiful story, well crafted. Immensely interesting, and also informative on a topic we hadn't previously known too much about.

By: ASHB 004 2018-09-26 13:07:00
We all enjoyed this book with its charming characters, and gentle insight into Vietnam, before, during and after the war.

By: PUKEKO 006 2018-09-26 13:05:25
An enjoyable read for the most part, though the first half was pretty slow. Likeable characters. A good but not great read.

By: WAIKA 001 2018-09-26 13:03:22
As a group we really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were well defined and the story well crafted. Several were intrigued by the choice of the title. Thank you.

By: COROM 002 2018-09-26 13:01:20
As we did not know much about Vietnam, we found this book very interesting. It filled in our ideas of the Vietnam war from the point of view of the people living through it, and gave us a picture of how life has developed there since. All woven around a heart-warming story of well-portrayed characters. Lots of good discussion.

By: MORRI 001 2018-09-26 12:54:57
This is a beautifully written book, that gives you a great insight into the history of Vietnam, by telling simply the story of people who have experienced Vietnam's troubled past. We started our discussion by sharing bowls of 'Pho', which seemed very appropriate.

By: CHCH 206 2018-05-08 09:25:22
Our group all really enjoyed reading this book. It recalled individual experiences in Vietnam including the sights, attitudes of the people we met and general impressions which all echoed the tenor of the book. Once again it was so interesting to discuss the difficulties faced by the migrant/displaced children and also the survivors of war. It prompted a number of our members to seek out other books that the author had written.

The Book Discussion 
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