The instant New York Times Bestseller • Nominated for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction
“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
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!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel beautifully demonstrates the power of words and memory. In this semi-autobiographical story, a man called Little Dog writes a letter to his mother, telling her that he’s queer and outlining his struggles trying to figure out how to square his Vietnamese heritage with his life in America. Vuong’s evocative prose is precise and imaginative, and his reading of his book is an intimate experience. He immerses us in Little Dog’s conflicting emotions as he struggles to straddle two cultures, two countries, and two ways of being in the world. We were transported by the poetic grace of Vuong’s words—and in the feelings he stirred up inside of us.
What a beautiful story
The writing style of this book is so beautiful. It’s a great audiobook that you can just get lost in. The imagery that’s used….. I just can’t get enough. Just a beautiful book.
I bought the book then bought the audiobook
Ocean vuyong has truly created a modern masterpiece. Hearing this story in his voice gave me a different understanding then I previously attained. The pain, humor, longing, and resolve in this novel have stayed with me months after my first reading.