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 the...

  • 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...

  • Chaima ? ?????

    “ 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 to reach you—even if each word I put down is one wo...

  • 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 ...

  • 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...

  • Michael

    Thoughtful and tender, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous meditates on the powers of storytelling. The autobiographical novel’s framed as a letter from a queer Vietnamese son, Little Dog, to his illite...

  • Marchpane

    Books by poets always have the best titles, don’t they? On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong’s semi-autobiographical debut novel, takes the form of a letter from Little Do...

  • anna (readingpeaches)

    (i want to tattoo on earth we're briefly gorgeous on my ribs but it's cool, i'm cool abt it)This review is also posted on my blog.I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an ...

  • Trish

    This work is called a novel but it is a ball of flame tossed into a dark night, blinding, brilliant, searing. Who knows if it is poetry or novel or memoir; the language fills the mouth and is saturate...

  • 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...