Set in modern day Hanoi, Vietnam, this dreamy tale reflects on the Communist takeover and a little on the wars with America and France. Old Man Hung is the "enlightened" proprietor of a beloved and illegal pho shop. He survived the political upheaval and has found a way to feed his customers and neighbors through dire poverty. His shop was once a gathering place for a group of artists who started the Beauty of Humanity Movement in response to the increasingly despotic takeover of Ho Chi Minh's regime in the 1950's. Tu, a tour guide, and his father Binh, son of one of the poets from the 1950's, are Hung’s best friends. Maggie is a Vietnamese art dealer who has lived in the U.S. since 1975. She is searching for information about her father, an artist whose hands were mangled in the "re-education movement in the '50s and was not able to escape Vietnam with his wife and daughter in 1975. This is a sweet story about how these very different people relate to one another and to their culture, providing a small window into a world we know little of in this country. Readers who enjoy learning about how historic events affect the lives of everyday people will enjoy this book.
Oak Park Library is currently closed and will re-open on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.