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On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, the debut novel from poet Ocean Vuong, has been hailed as a modern classic. The book has drawn comparisons to Vietnamese-American authors such as Gloria Anzaldúa and Maxine Hong Kingston, and it’s easy to see why. Vuong’s novel is a tour de force, a gorgeous and heart-wrenching exploration of family, identity, and love.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is narrated by Little Dog, a gay Vietnamese-American man living in Hartford, Connecticut. The novel follows Little Dog’s life from childhood to adulthood, chronicling his relationship with his mother, Rose; his brief time working at a nail salon; and his first love affair with a boy named Trevor. Throughout the novel, Little Dog wrestles with his sexuality, his place in the world as a Vietnamese immigrant, and his complicated feelings for his mother.

Vuong’s writing is lyrical and gorgeous, and he has a gift for capturing the beauty in everyday moments. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. Vuong’s background as a poet is evident in the stunning prose that encapsulates each moment with poignant precision and beauty. While its experimental structure may not be for everyone, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous offers an evocative and moving examination of the human experience.

I am thinking of beauty again, how some things are hunted because we have deemed them beautiful. If, relative to the history of our planet, an individual life is so short, a blink of an eye, as they say, then to be gorgeous, even from the day you’re born to the day you die, is to be gorgeous only briefly…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.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is an absolutely stunning debut novel from Ocean Vuong. If you’re looking for a beautiful and moving exploration of family, identity, and love, this is the book for you. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading.

About Ocean Vuong the author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong was born on October 14, 1988, in Saigon, Vietnam. At the age of two, he and his family fled the country as refugees and eventually settled in Hartford, Connecticut. Vuong is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received his B.A. in English and Creative Writing.

Vuong’s poetry has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. His debut poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was published in 2016 and won the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, was published in 2019. Vuong has also been awarded a MacArthur Grant and a Ruth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

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