Tu' is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a company called New Dawn. While he leads tourists through the city, including American vets on "war tours," he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam--and what they miss entirely. Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most her life in the U.S., has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father's disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has lived through decades of political upheaval and has still found a way to feed hope to his community of pondside dwellers.
This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.
"A debunker of stereotypes and a seeker of the big picture, [Gibb] isn't satisfied with merely creating convincing characters and a bold plot. She educates and enlightens the reader. . . . Gibb portrays Hung as a figure of immense pathos and dignity. . . . A bittersweet story of old lost love is brought up to date, and that the beauty of humanity--sans irony--triumphs."
--The Gazette (Montreal)
"Gibb ties the strands of narrative together in the same way that Hung makes his pho - with care, with gentleness and with reality. She employs all the senses to create a vivid aesthetic tapestry of the concrete, and then infuses it with the abstractions of family and ambition and respect for elders. . . . Gibb has created her own 'Beauty of Humanity,' and
at the heart is the talented and loving Old Man Hung."
--The Globe and Mail
About the Author:
Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels—Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement—as well as numerous short stories, articles and reviews.
She was the winner of the Trillium Book Award in 2006, a Scotiabank Giller Prize short list nominee in 2005, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award in 2000 and the recipient of the CBC Canadian Literary Award for short fiction in 2001. Her books have been published in 18 countries and translated into 14 languages and she was named by the jury of the prestigious Orange Prize as one of 21 writers to watch in the new century.
Gibb was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She has a B.A. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Toronto, completed her Ph.D. in social anthropology at Oxford University in 1997, and spent two years at the University of Toronto as a post-doctoral research fellow before becoming a full-time writer.
Gibb has been writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of the graduate creative writing program at the University of Guelph and the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto.