Reading guide for The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

A Novel

by Camilla Gibb

The Beauty of Humanity Movement
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Although most of the novel's threads are neatly tied at the end, Tu's future is left somewhat in doubt. He doesn't get Maggie nor does he get a job working at Hung's new restaurant. What future do you predict for him?


  2. Pho, referred to as Hung's wife and mistress, is almost a character. Describe the role this humble bowl of soup occupies in the novel. How does it contain the whole history of twentieth-century Vietnam?


  3. There are two small but poignant references to American Vietnam War vets: the father of Maggie's former boyfriend Daniel and Brentwood, one of Tu's American sightseers. How do these shed light on Maggie and Tu respectively? What do they say, if anything, about Vietnamese reactions to America's involvement in the war?


  4. The Beauty of Humanity Movement joins a recent group of fiction set in contemporary Southeast Asia, of which David Bergen's The Time in Between and Kim Eichlin's The Disappeared are other examples. Compare Gibb's depiction of Vietnam with any other fictional portrayals of the region you may have read.


  5. The poetic and visual metaphors created by Dao and his circle, like the fruit missing its rind, are wonderfully rich and subtle. Discuss how they operate as satire and social commentary.


  6. Compare the two sets of artists in the novel, i.e., those in Dao's circle and those "dandy peacocks" in contemporary Vietnam. What is the value of art to their respective societies? What role if any does art have in politics or social justice?


  7. In one of the more peculiar examples of the cooption of Western culture, Tu's friend and business partner Phuong finishes second in the TV show Vietnam Idol. What kind of relationship do the characters have with Western, particularly American, culture?


  8. In the end, Maggie learns only a few details about her father's life. Did she find what she was looking for? Has she, like Hung, made peace with her past?


  9. Vietnam, though small, is a country which haunts the imaginations of many people around the world - American vets, Vietnamese who emigrated, and Vietnamese who stayed behind. Every homeland with emigrants does this to some degree but are there other modern countries which have (or will have) equally long-lasting and wide-ranging effects? Could this novel have been set in say Afghanistan or Iraq?


  10. The betrayal by Lan merges with the betrayal Hung feels from his whole country. How is Hung and Lan's tragic relationship emblematic of Vietnamese history?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Penguin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Pho : A Vietnamese Delicacy

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are either well written or badly written. That is all.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.