I must confess that Camilla Gibb is one of my favourite Canadian authors. I first fell in love with her Petty Details of So-and-So's Life and continued my love affair with Sweetness in the Belly. Mouthing the Words, although a difficult read, was told with authenticity and tenderness.
Being a traveller at heart, any novel set in Asia immediately draws my eye so I expected to fall in love with this novel. And I did.
The Beauty of Humanity Movement is about daring to express original thoughts at a time when those thoughts are not welcome. It is about fighting to speak the truth and the cost that such action entails.
Maggie is an art specialist who was raised in America but returns to Vietnam in order to find her father who was torn from her at a very young age. During her quest, she not only uncovers information about her father and his contemporaries but also immerses herself in this hitherto unfamiliar culture.
Gibb moves not only from one art form to another, from one culture to another, from past to present but also through the generations. There is beauty in this movement and despite the temptation to believe there is little beauty in humanity, Gibb brings us around to a deeper understanding of our place in the world, of our belonging to an international community and of our obligations to civilization.