"I think I will forever read anything Ocean Vuong writes. He is a master of wordcraft and, beyond literary “skill”, he speaks with a raw and genuine voice that distinguishes his writing. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is an emotional read, ditching any attempt at sugarcoating its story. The narrator’s fraught relationship with his mother is shown in its full, complicated weight, as is his adolescent relationship with his boss’ son. Family, heritage, generational pain, language barriers, discrimination, queerness, heartbreaking love, drugs, poverty, loss; everything is let out in a wave of truth that left me stunned and teary and admiring his willingness to let life illustrate itself on the page, instead of self-serving fictionalization and quieting of what a tumbling experience living actually is. And, nonetheless, he accepts it all as gorgeous."
The brilliant, New York Times bestselling debut that has taken the literary world by storm: Award-winning poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to 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.