The Beauty of Humanity Movement
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.
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A Note of Grace
Old Man Hung makes the best phở in the city and has done so for decades. Where he once had a shop, though, he no longer does, because the rents are exorbitant, both the hard rents and the soft—the bribes a proprietor must pay to the police in this new era of...
1. Food means much more than just sustenance in this novel, and no food has richer provenance than pho, according to Hu’ng. What is it about Hu’ng’s pho that draws his devotees?
2. How does Maggie relate to food, and to Vietnamese culture? How is her approach to food and art different from that...
"A debunker of stereotypes and a seeker of the big picture, [Gibb] isn't satisfied with merely creating convincing characters and a bold plot. She educates and enlightens the reader. . . . Gibb portrays Hung as a figure of immense pathos and dignity. . . . A bittersweet story of old lost love is brought up to date, and that the beauty of humanity--sans irony--triumphs."
--The Gazette (Montreal)
"Gibb ties the strands of narrative together in the same way that Hung makes his pho - with care, with gentleness and with reality. She employs all the senses to create a vivid aesthetic tapestry of the concrete, and then infuses it with the abstractions of family and ambition and respect for elders. . . . Gibb has created her own 'Beauty of Humanity,' and
at the heart is the talented and loving Old Man Hung."
--The Globe and Mail