the Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb (2010)

Maggie is in Hanoi looking for clues about her father who never followed her and her mother to the US during the American war in Vietnam. Her father was an artist who was sent to re-education camp for publishing anti-Communist propaganda. After a year of searching for any memories of her father, she finally meets an old pho-seller, Hung, who remembers him.

Meeting Maggie forces Hung to remember a lot of things he has been trying to forget. Dao, the editor of the illegal magazines being published at Hung’s shop, was sent to a re-education camp and never came back. Hung has been taken care of Dao’s son and now it is Dao’s son and grandson who take care of Hung. And then there Lan, the old spinster who has been living next to Hung all her life and is the love of his life, but they haven’t spoken for 45 years.

Camilla Gibb’s three previous books are high up on my list of favourite books, and especially Mouthing the Words. But when I finished this book, all I thought was was this all? Yes, the story is good and it gives a great insight to a state I know little about. But I never really connected with the story and I felt that it barely scratched the surface of what could be a really great book.