Tu, who is a tour guide that guides tourists around to the places they want to see rather than what they should see. Sometimes, it is the things that they miss that means more.
Maggie who is a Vietnamese by birth, but has lived mostly in the US returns to her birthplace to find out what happened to her father after they left to the safety and security of the United States. This was the last time she or her mother had ever seen him, praying for his return to their home.
She wants to know or at least find out what happened to him after they had left – re-education camps, or death, he just simply disappeared during the war that separated them.
The one holding the key to this question and a lot of other things is Old Man Hung. He has lived through owing a business, losing it during the war, to making himself a mobile cart where he makes and serves his infamous Pho.
Throughout his time, he’s experienced every part of humanity – good as well as bad, the political upheaval, but still strives to give hope to the people he comes into contact day after day, to some he is considered a part of the family.
How is it we deal with how people are treated by others? Do we change as a part of those interactions? Do we try harder to show the same sort of humanity and respect and love for others that we expect back? The legacy of Old Man Hung, as well as the adopted family he has acquired does matter, it shines through in us all through the generations, whether we are still living or have been gone for some time.
Is there a real definition of family? Is it different for everyone ? Is it determined by blood lines or just guided by our hearts ?
This book shows us what humanity should be, or at least how I feel it should – with love, acceptance, respect, no matter if you are related by blood or by your heart.