On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

by Ocean Vuong

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Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction! 

An instant New York Times Bestseller! 

Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal! 

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525562030
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 4,157
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, a New York Times bestseller. His writings have also 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. 
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. 

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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Grady1GH 12 months ago
A wondrous book In 2010 Ocean Vuong offered his first collection of poems – BURNINGS – and this reviewer wrote the following: ‘It is very difficult to read the poetry of Ocean Vuong: he gets inside the marrow and hides there for even a few moldy moments of memories that we've tried to erase. Perhaps not for everyone, this response. Likely for most these poems he collectively and intuitively titles BURNINGS will be simply the virtuosic, luminous constructions of a vividly experienced/inherited life. Ocean Vuong is Vietnamese, now living and writing and teaching in Brooklyn. He was born in Saigon in 1988, well after the US withdrawal of troops from that grossly wrong war, but his parents and grandparents carry the napalm smells and bitter battles in every cell of their bodies: Vuong's inheritance. And now, years away from that fetid error, his poems ask, if not force, us to recall that cancer that will never go away. So for those of us who experienced the Vietnam of which he speaks these poems are pockets of pain and renewed compassion. Ocean Vuong expresses the mind of a refugee as defined as any poet of our time. His poems can arrest the movement of our eyes, forcing them to accept the wrong that cannot be righted. But they can also create strange lullabies he recalls from the past, his past, our past. Vuong's perfectly crafted poems are intensely personal, and intensely universal. What he has to whisper to us sears our eyes and minds like a branding iron, burning. Whether his words are of wars past or present, they are inescapably palpable. This is the work of a gifted cantor, singing of pain, singing of healing.’ Why share this again? It is now 2019 and because during the past decade Ocean Vuong has become one of the more highly regarded men on the literary scene. He is first a poet and now a novelist, but no matter the form in which his words are dressed, the level of empathy glows. ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS is a fine novel, an autobiography in prose and poetry, and an intense examination of family, race, class, gender, drug addiction, immigrant status, filial devotion between a mother who does not read and her son, and finding inner self. The book is successful on all levels and now stands as another trophy in the growing respect for this splendid artist. Very Highly Recommended.
Novelwriter47 4 months ago
Oh, wow. Amazing language, complex construction, and technical bravura. But still the emotional power and human stories are foremost and written to the bone, enhanced by the style instead of buried. A must read.
Anonymous 5 months ago
What a unique writing style. I could not put this book down.
Anonymous 7 months ago
As soon as I finished this book I wanted to read it again. As much as the sentences could pierce and wound, they were expressed beautifully. A gem of a book.
Anonymous 7 months ago
This novel was simply gorgeous.
bhumbarger 8 months ago
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a revolutionary, breathtaking novel. A book which sits in your soul and reminds you of its presence in the best moments. All of my own words feel inadequate in describing this story. Please, read this masterpiece. Listen to the audiobook, hold the pages in your hands, scroll through it on your phone, just make this book a part of your life. It will stay with you forever. Ethereal. Magnificent.
DeediReads 8 months ago
“Migration can be triggered by the angle of sunlight, indicating a change in the season, temperature, plant life, and food supply. Female monarchs lay eggs along the route. Every history has more than one thread, each thread a story of division. The journey takes four thousand eight hundred and thirty miles, more than the length of this country. The monarchs that fly south will not make it back north. Each departure, then, is final. Only their children return; only the future revisits the past.” If you’ve heard anything about this book, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s phenomenal. I read it in a single sitting, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I can’t imagine having to open it and close it, open it and close it, and pulling myself in and out of that emotional state. This one is a journey, and in my opinion is best experienced that way. In this novel, the main character is writing a letter to his mother. Because she can’t read, he’s able to bear pretty much his entire soul. We’re shown glimpses into his entire life so far as he grew up in a depressed town, the son of Vietnamese immigrants. Plus some of his parents’ and grandparents’ stories, which were not easy, and which impacted the way they raised him. Plus his years-long teenage romance with a boy who had demons of his own. “In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.” If you are the kind of reader who likes to get absolutely torn to shreds by the heartbreaking and human experiences of others, to feel closer to humanity in that way, then you must read this book immediately. It calls up the kind of weighty feeling in your chest like you just want to exhale, and keep exhaling forever, because that pressure belongs there. Ocean Vuong is a poet first, and so his prose is exactly as perfect, hard-hitting, and raw as you’d think it would be. You’ll find yourself hypnotized and unable to look away. These are the books that matter. These are the books that make us part of something bigger. “Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.”