On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

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.

Title:On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780525562023
Format Type:

    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Reviews

  • Emily May

    “All freedom is relative—you know too well—and sometimes it’s no freedom at all, but simply the cage widening far away from you, the bars abstracted with distance but still there, as when t...

  • Roxane

    Ocean is a brilliant writer and I am a fan of his work. I even published him once in PANK! It has been thrilling to watch him soar. The prose in this novel is sublime. The way he writes is just… exq...

  • chai ?

    ✧ find this review & others on my blog ✧“ Dear Ma ,” within the narrator’s head—or it might have been his heart—the name begins tolling, very much like a bell, “ I am writing t...

  • Celeste Ng

    ON EARTH WE'RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS will be described--rightly--as luminous, shattering, urgent, necessary. But the word I keep circling back to is raw: that's how powerful the emotions here are, and how ...

  • Ron Charles

    May 31 marks the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, and the best present we could possibly receive is Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.” The connection bet...

  • Angela M

    This is such a beautiful book title and it was the title that drew me to read the description and request a copy of it. Not only is the title beautiful, but much of the writing here is as well. It’s...

  • But_i_thought_

    So you go to a high-end restaurant with an elaborate tasting menu. You are served dishes with fancy names that involve sublimated beetroot gel and deconstructed potato foam, and though the experience ...

  • Thomas

    I am out here stanning the success of Ocean Vuong’s debut novel! As a fellow queer Vietnamese American, it feels so amazing to see someone with my same ethnic and queer identities breaking through i...

  • Neil

    Recently, when I have opened my Goodreads web page, it has seemed to be full of people giving a lot of stars to this book and singing its praises in glowing reviews.I opened the book with high hopes.O...

  • Diane Barnes

    No review. Just a list of adjectives.BrutalRawDevastatingBeautifulIncandescentStunningThe author didn't write this book; he opened his heart and just let it bleed all over the pages. Reading it cracke...