Jun 20, 2011

The Beauty of Humanity Movement, Book Review

The Beauty of Humanity Movement
by Camilla Gibb
The Penguin Press

Rich, vivid characters and setting.  When you read fiction, do you like characters with whom you enjoy spending a few days?  Characters that make you laugh?  Make you cry?  Make you think?  Make you care.  Do you like to come out of a book and have to look around and figure out where you are and what is real?

This is that kind of book.

Explore the parallels of human relationships among three generations in the politically torn and bruised country of VietNam. Hung is approaching the end of his life.  He's a decent, hard working man, loyal beyond compare.  Hung is the only man Tu has ever known as a grandfather and Tu adores him, protects him, loves him.  Join these two as they navigate the new VietNam, unable to shake the controversial '50's and horrific history of the 60's, 70's and 80's.  Listen as Hung slowly reveals the thoughts and feelings of humanity behind the cold, hard facts we've read about in history books.  Watch as Tu adjusts to a changing VietNam, never completely removing his rose-colored glasses and hope-filled plans....

Let me share three of my favorite lines.  Hung looks inward, provoked by the churning torrents and waterfalls of memories often prevalent among the aged:  "In this moment Hung can't remember why they have not spoken for so many years, why he has avoided her gaze, why has has carried a stone in his heart."

Thoughts as they navigated a new VietNam: "Buddha is no help with matters of money. Consult Buddha on maters of the heart.  Ask the ancestors for help with business.  This is responsible capitalism."

Tu's Americanized friend gives him an unexpected hug:  "Having never been hugged in his life, Tu's instinct is to turn into a plank of wood."

The Beauty of Humanity Movement is based on the Nhan Van-Giai Pham affair and the revolutionary group of men following the poet Phan Khoi.

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