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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by…
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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Ocean Vuong (Author)

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2,289955,578 (3.93)108
"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."--… (more)
Member:kerryfine
Title:On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel
Authors:Ocean Vuong (Author)
Info:Penguin Press (2019), Edition: First Edition, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019)

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» See also 108 mentions

English (87)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Beautifully written, as promised. There are a couple scenes that will stay with me, but it didn't have a strong enough storyline to make me feel invested or interested the whole way through. I'm glad I read it though and would recommend it just for the quality of writing. ( )
  SarahMac314 | Aug 12, 2022 |
This is remarkable, and such beautiful writing. But Ocean Vuong's narration is what brings it to gorgeous-ness. ( )
  Okies | Aug 10, 2022 |
A young Vietnamese American man writes (or tries to write) a letter to his Mother. Since she doesn't read English, he knows from the start she'll never read the letter.

Moving backward and forward in time - much like our memories often do - the narrator "Little Dog" brings forward family memories from before he was born, from before his own Mother was born. And also replays parts of his life his Mother never knew.

The book is very emotionally powerful and so well written. ( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
9/10. Beautiful, raw and honest. That's all I can put into words after I finished this novel. ( )
  curiouskt | Jul 25, 2022 |
What an extraordinary book! Certainly not for everyone, but to me it was beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking. Written in the form of a letter to his mother, Vuong creates unforgettable images with words. He's primarily a poet, and indeed much of the book reads like poetry. In a sense this is his own story of growing up, but it's intertwined with the history of his mother, his grandmother, and the war in Vietnam which shaped them all. It's also about coming of age as a gay man, and the drug addiction of his first love, Trevor. So glad I read it. ( )
  meredk | Jul 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vuong, Oceanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capelle, MargueriteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, JohannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
But let me see if—using these words as a little plot of
land and my life as a cornerstone—
I can build you a center.
—Qiu Miaojin
I want to tell you the truth, and already I have told you about the wide rivers.
—Joan Didion
Dedication
For my mother
First words
Let me begin again.
Quotations
You once told me that the human eye is god's loneliest creation. How so much of the world passes through the pupil and still it holds nothing. The eye, alone in its socket, doesn't even know there's another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty.
...the most useful thing one can do with empty hands is hold on. (p.76)
They say nothing lasts forever but they're just scared it will last longer than they can love it. (p.176)
From the wind, I learned a syntax for forwardness, how to move through obstacles by wrapping myself around them. (p.185)
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"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."--

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