Rated of 5
by Claire M. (Sarasota, Florida) The Beauty of Humanity Movement
At once both a brilliantly conceived novel about the past and present in Vietnam, and an inquiry into family, love and responsibility, Camilla Gibbs writes with familiarity with the country: in particular the trauma, deprivation and political turmoil the north experienced during the years of the American War. The main characters are well developed, especially Hung, the itinerant pho vendor. One thing that struck me was Hung’s recognition of the difference in 3 generations, with the middle one-the ones who became silenced or compromised by the revolution-not the same as the dissidents of the first and the young influenced by the post war cultural changes since opening to the west. The arts endure and somehow a people survive, nourished by what’s most meaningful to them. Love and redemption for Hung and Lan, Maggie, Tu and Binh transcend the boundaries of traditional family and bring together the stories of a nation in conflict. Few Americans have heard stories about how North Vietnam endured during our war there. Having spent time in communist or post-communist countries I'm familiar with the corrosive effects of the system on the population and Gibb has woven those into the story skillfully. This is a good book club read as well as for individuals interested in the country or the period.
Rated of 5
by Iris F. (W. Bloomfield, Michigan) The Beauty of Humanity Movement
As one who lived through the turmoil perpetuated by the Vietnam War, I've reacted to this lovely book on many levels. The first was in the reliving of the horror of body bags televised nightly combined with the civil unrest perpetuated by this very unpopular war. Now some 30-40 years later comes this well crafted story of this small group of Vietnamese people giving insight as to what this war was really about. The author is able to make you see the sights and smell the smells of Vietnam as well as make you care about the main characters, particularly Hung. The struggles of the main characters humanize the war in a way that is new to me. The book certainly lends itself for discussion in many directions.
Though the Beauty of Humanity Movement refers to a group of artists and poets struggling to express their art, to me the real Beauty of Humanity Movement is embodied in this small group of people who in spite of all their hardships never waiver in their devotion to one another.
I highly recommend this book.
Rated of 5
by Carolyn G. (South Pasadena, CA) An interesting read
I found this an interesting read. The story is a nice blend of modern and old Vietnamese culture. There are few books in English which deal with this period of North Vietnam history. The characters are interesting and the story includes information about cooking and visual art two of my favorite subjects. I also appreciated that the author did not seem to have any political slants and just told a story.
Rated of 5
by Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC) 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 resilience of the people to maintain their humanity through the horror of the many conflicts. And lastly I was enlightened on the history and culture of North Vietnam.
The author was able to invoke all of these emotions through the skillful storytelling of the three main characters, each of whom will need to resolve their personal demons, and find that will come when they come together and accept each other for who they are. A strong cast of secondary characters rounds out the story. The writing was beautifully subtle invoking time and place.
While overall I enjoyed the story, at places the story was repetitive and this seemed to drag out the events.
Rated of 5
by Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI) The Beauty of Humanity Movement
I loved this book! Being a baby-boomer, I have long wondered why there have not been more books written about the Vietnam War and its after effects. The author writes with great sensitivity about some very difficult issues. I was impressed by her ability to weave together the stories of the various characters. Even the minor characters are memorable and add to the richness of the book. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who are interested in the people, rather than the politics or the battles, of the Vietnam War era of American history.
Rated of 5
by Jan M. (Jenks, OK) A difficult life of diligence and dedication.
This was my first Camilla Gibb book, but it certainly will not be my last. She has a lovely style that paints beautifully descriptive pictures of a land and it's people with whom I'm not well acquainted. My husband was a Vietnam vet who often wished to return to see the aftermath of the war. Ms. Gibb revealed the struggles of just simple day to day living. The loyalty of Mr. Hungs friends, the love of his neighbor, and his innovative diligence to his craft of making soup was heartwarming. I had trouble with some of the language, but with the help of my Vietnamese manicurist was better able to understand some of the terms. This was a simple story about a simple man that was very well written and left this reader wanting to know more about the "after the war" life of his people. I plan to recommend this book for our book club's reading and discussion list.
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...