On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel

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Penguin, Jun 4, 2019 - Fiction - 256 pages
49 Reviews
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An instant New York Times Bestseller! 

Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, the Carnegie Medal in Fiction, the 2019 Aspen Words Literacy Prize, and the PEN/Hemingway Debut Novel Award

Shortlisted for the 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize 

Winner of the 2019 New England Book Award for Fiction! 

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Oprah.com, Huffington Post, The A.V. Club, Nylon, The Week, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and more.

“A lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal…Not so much briefly gorgeous as permanently stunning.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

Named a Best Book of the Year by: 
GQ, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, TIME, Esquire, The Washington Post, Apple, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, The New York Public Library, Elle.com, The Guardian, The A.V. Club, NPR, Lithub, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue.com, The San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal Magazine and more! 
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Castlelass - LibraryThing

This book is creative and poetic, but the subject matter is grim. The narrative is in the form of a letter from a son to his mother. The son is a Vietnamese immigrant to the United States, where he ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Othemts - LibraryThing

In this poetic, nonlinear narrative, the narrator - nicknamed Little Dog - writes a letter explaining his life to his mother, Hong. The story is based on Vuong's own life, who like Little Dog is the ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
15
Section 3
35
Section 4
45
Section 5
67
Section 6
75
Section 7
79
Section 8
95
Section 10
141
Section 11
153
Section 12
165
Section 13
173
Section 14
195
Section 15
219
Section 16
235
Copyright

Section 9
129

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About the author (2019)

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. A recipient of the 2019 MacArthur "Genius" Grant, he is also the winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His writings have been featured in The AtlanticHarper's MagazineThe Nation, The New RepublicThe New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. 

Bibliographic information