THE BEAUTY OF HUMANITY MOVEMENT

THE BEAUTY OF HUMANITY MOVEMENT
Author: Camilla Gibb
Atlantic $27.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

 
SET in contemporary Vietnam, where memories of political upheaval linger, The Beauty of Humanity Movement is an evocative and beautiful work by Camilla Gibb that has left me with a desire to taste authentic pho.
Old Man Hu’ng makes the best pho in Hanoi and every morning he sets out from his shantytown home to assemble his makeshift kitchen and feed a line of regulars. One day Maggie, Vietnamese by birth and US-raised, stands in his line, hoping the old man will have clues as to the fate of her father. Her guide through the streets of Hanoi is the street-smart Tu; the three become unlikely friends as their intertwining stories unfold.
It’s a skilfully written work that brings to life modern Vietnam, showing that hope endures even while scars remain, that paradoxically, there is beauty in humanity at the same time as ugliness. This book left me with a warm feeling, as I suspect a bowl of Hu’ng’s pho would.
This copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.