Beauty Reviews


“Gibb’s fictional portrait of contemporary Vietnam should be essential reading for anyone mulling a visit to Hanoi, whose profusion of motorbike traffic and culinary aromas issues from these pages with graphic verisimilitude. Gibb uses the city’s street food and thriving art scene to reflect both continuity and change…” New York Times Book Review

“Camilla Gibb drapes her story over good strong bones—characters (including the grandson of a poet friend of Hung’s) that span several generations, the nobility of the artists in contrast to the war and its political players. But the true beauty of the novel radiates from the details—the smell of the soup, the feeling of the early-morning streets, the sense of community in poverty and the community woven by memories.” Los Angeles Times

“Gibb has made a loving, wise, tender, dreamy and insightful work of fiction about a loosely linked group of ordinary citizens trying to make the most in contemporary Hanoi.” NPR, All Things Considered

“Part history lesson, and part social commentary on Vietnam’s past to future, Movement’s flawlessly constructed characters satisfy like a warm bowl of pho after a wicked-bad hangover.Gibb’s thoughtful and intricate writing weaves an unforgettable portrait of the past and present, and her observations of humanity make clear the similarities in all of us.” The Seattlest

“Well written and engaging, with characters that represent the participants and consequences of a country in the middle of great change, this work is recommended where [Amy] Tan and similar authors are appreciated.” Library Journal

“Through the very different perspectives of these three, Gibb fluidly takes the reader from the bitter years of war to the Hanoi that has emerged in the reform era, which, despite all its modernization, is still a mystery to many of us.” Booklist

“The best book I have read so far this year. It’s a sort of Indochinese Gabriel Garcia Marquez – think One Hundred Years of Solitude with chopsticks.” Wendy Holden, Daily Mail ‘An intensive course in Vietnamese history, Gibb’s poised and thoughtful novel does not flinch from horror but is also open to the beauty of this scarred country.’ Jane Housham, The Guardian

‘Camilla Gibb has created a fascinating portrait of modern Vietnam… The collision between the personal and political, the overlapping of the characters’ stories and the tracking of their past and present lives reveal the human connections that unite us all’ Lucy Popescu, The Independent

‘Just like in Hung’s famous noodle broth, there is a lot packed into this carefully-balanced, delicately spiced novel…From the ancient Huang and his village memories, to the modern Tu and his knock-off Nikes, this takes some beating as a whistle-stop tour of the history of Vietnam…it achieves one of fiction’s greatest aims: making the personal universal, and visa versa’ Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday

“Great characters, expertly written… another winner from Gibb.” Now Magazine

“A dynamite read.” PostCity Magazines

“Described by Gibb with empathy and clarity…Gibb ties the strands of the narrative together…with care, with gentleness, and with reality. She employs all the senses to create a vivid aesthetic tapestry. Seeing such hope in the face of such adversity is uplifting.” Globe and Mail

“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 whose grasp of Vietnam’s history and culture may be based on little more than the vague recall of old headlines.” Montreal Gazette

“Writing with grace and understanding, The Beauty of Humanity Movement is simply heartwarming. The writing, story and understanding brought to the book left me astonished, predicting that when award time comes around, Camilla Gibb’s name will loom large.” The Sun Times (Owen Sound)

“…her stunning new novel, The Beauty of Humanity Movement, a moving tale of love, loss and redemption set in contemporary Hanoi.” In Toronto Magazine

“As she did in Sweetness in the Belly…the author demonstrates an amazing ability to inhabit the headspace of people of other cultures living in different times.” Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick)

“A gorgeous, poetic work. Moving, thought-provoking, horrifying in parts, and utterly absorbing. Lyrical language, convincing characters, a moving storyline and so much to learn. Quite simply, I loved it.” New Zealand Herald