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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

By Ocean Vuong
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

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! 

777 Reviews

Loudly Crying Face“A beautiful read about Asian immigrant experiences. I really struggled with the pace and flow of this book. It felt very all over the place, which was definitely intentional, but made the overall storytelling hard to follow. I did have some key quotes I loved and found some parts very insightful.”
Beautifully writtenPoeticAngstyMovingSeriousFlat characters
Anxious Face with sweat“One of the finest writings I've come across. It's poetic. It's lyrical. I especially love how there's a lot of context (metaphors, instances, and backstories) provided to the readers to make the theme at point resonate with them. It gets monotonous in certain sections and I started to zone out a bit – over detailing is the issue, I think. I'm glad that I went through the whole novel and didn't DNF it. The last part brings the whole story together. And it's worth all the wait.”
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenLyricalPoeticComplexHeartbreakingTragicSeriousSlow plot
Loudly Crying Face“It is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. The way in which Vuong uses language to express the struggles of a human, and how the beautiful descriptions transports the readers into this beautiful earth. It was more than I expected, and every page had something new to make us thinking of life.”
Characters change and growBeautifully writtenPoeticComplexHeartbreakingDescriptiveRealistic settingMeaningfulMemorableThought-provoking
Anxious Face with sweat“I wanted to get into this, but the pace and tone fell flat for me. It was often heartbreaking and emotional, but the perspective and story telling was unique”
Diverse charactersOriginal charactersHeartbreakingInspirationalDidn't grab my attention
Slightly Smiling Face“something about the specific genre of asian immigrant literature that just *hits different*”
Characters change and growDiverse charactersMulti-layered characters

About Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collections Night Sky with Exit Wounds and Time is a Mother, as well as 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 NationThe New RepublicThe New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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