This deeply observed novel of contemporary
Vietnam interweaves stories of a venerable soup seller, a young Vietnamese American curator, and an enterprising tour guide in ways that will mark all of
their lives forever.
Maggie, an art curator who is Vietnamese by
birth but who has lived most of her life in the United States, has returned to
her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father’s
disappearance. She remembers him only in fragments, as an injured artist from
whom she and her mother were separated during the war. In her journey, Maggie
finds herself at a makeshift pho stall, where the rich aroma of beef noodle
soup lures people off Hanoi's busy streets and into a quiet morning ritual.
Old Man Hung, the enlightened proprietor of
the beloved pho stall, has survived decades of poverty and political upheaval.
Hung once had a shop that served as a meeting place for dissident artists, and Maggie discovers that the old man may hold the key to both her past and her
Among Hung’s most faithful customers is Tu’,
a dynamic young tour guide who works for a company called New Dawn. Tu’ leads
tourists through the city, including American vets on war tours, but he has
begun to wonder what they are seeing of Vietnam—and what they miss
entirely. In Maggie, he finds a young Americanized woman in search of something
quite different, leading him beyond his realm of expertise. In sensual,
interwoven narratives, Maggie, Hung, and Tu’ come together in a highly charged
season that will mark all of them forever.
The Beauty of Humanity Movement is a skillfully wrought novel about the
reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and
the redemption and renewal of love.
Download and start listening now!