On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender, and highly original – poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is 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 ...more
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Giveaway dates: Jun 14 - Jun 30, 2021
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From pg 231:
"All this time I told myself we were born from war-but I was wrong Ma. We were born from beauty.
Let no one mistake us fro the fruit of violence-but that the violence, having passed through the fruit, failed to spoil it."(less)
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“ Dear Ma ,” within the narrator’s head—or it might have been his heart—the name begins tolling, very much like a bell, “ I am writing to reach you—even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are. ” And although he knows his mother is illiterate—her education capped at the age of 5 after a napalm raid destroyed her schoolhouse in Vietnam—and thus, all his hours and pain will be folded in paper and put away, the words kept tumbli ...more
“All freedom is relative—you know too well—and sometimes it’s no freedom at all, but simply the cage widening far away from you, the bars abstracted with distance but still there, as when they “free” wild animals into nature preserves only to contain them yet again by larger borders. But I took it anyway, that widening.”
4 1/2 stars. Stunning.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is quite a book. It is not surprising that the author is a poet, as this reads almost like a poetry collection - prose p ...more
At first glance, Vuong’s book has all the ingredients of a winning novel — lyrical writing, fascinating themes, a topical premise. Taking the form of a long, confessional letter from a young Vietname ...more
This book fucking wrecked me (no i didn't cry because everything inside me was dead anyways) BUT when I say everything— e v e r y t h i n g— I felt reading this book: it all transcends and escalates into something that is literally close to basic divination.
Basically this book gave me superpowers I didn't know I had.
If you want that feeling, that punch of seroton ...more
I opened the book with high hopes.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous uses a fragmented narrative to tell, or perhaps explore is a better word, the life of Little Dog, a son born to Vietnamese immigrants into the USA. The reader gradually pieces together the story of Little Dog’s mother (Rose) and grandmother (Lan) along with Little Dog’ ...more
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....more
The author didn't write this book; he opened his heart and just let it bleed all over the pages. Reading it cracked mine open and turned me inside out.
Just a sample: "Did you know people get rich off of sadness? I want to meet the millionaire of American sadness. I want to look him in the eye, shake his hand, and say, "Its been an honor to serve my country". ...more
This is one of those books that reminds me why I read.
Sure, I read for pleasure and to keep at bay anxieties and worries that otherwise occupy my mind (that’s what my romance/chick-lit stacks are for) but my true love for the written word came from discovering the beauty of depth and emotion that’s hidden within the lyrical prose of select writers.
To say that the writing in this book is gorgeous would be an understatement. There is one measure I use to determine if I find a particular ...more
I read 200+ books a year. This month, I’ve read almost a book a day. When I’m reading that much, it can just be because the stars aligned and gave me an insane amount of free time and I chose to spend it all on Bettering Myself Through Literature, but more often, it’s because I’m trying to escape from my snoozefest daily life and my annoying brain.
Currently, it’s the latter.
When I read that much, it can put the stories at a distance. Or really I want to immerse my ...more
wow. i am stunned. in a debut novel where prose so elegantly meets verse, a work of beauty is created and the world is a better place because of it.
i randomly came across this video (probably one of the most genuine interviews i have ever seen) and i immediately fell in lov ...more
This is a poignant, unique, heart capturing, meaningful letter of Vietnam immigrant to his mother who doesn’t know how to read wh ...more
Illness having survived the Vietnam war; his own journey through sexual exploration of his own orientation to finding himself; and the relationships he’s had with fam ...more
tw: on page death, child abuse, drugs, war descriptions, homophobia, animal violence
Review also on my blog. ARC provided by the publisher.
Ocean Vuong is first & foremost a poet and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is his literary debut (he also has a poem by the same title). It’s not a novel novel, though, not in this very Western sense we’re all used to. There are no prominent arcs or villains, or any ascending tension. It’s ...more
This novel is a letter from “little dog” a Vietnamese-American gay man to his Vietnamese mother.
The family came to America when little dog was a little boy with just a few relatives, settled finally in Connecticut where life was tough.
I’m not going to go into the story because you need to just rea ...more
“Because gunshots, lies, and oxtail—or whatever you want to call your god—should say Yes over and over, in cycles, in spirals, with no other reason...more
That time at the Chinese butcher, you pointed to the roasted pig hanging from its hook. “The ribs are just like q person’s after they’re burned.” You let out a clipped chuckle, then paused, rook out your pocketbook, your face pinched, and recounted our money.
Mother and Son
When does a war end? When can I say your name and have it mean only your name and not what you left behind?
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeo ...more
Something here is reminiscent of the epic poetry of Homer. Life's brutality, man’s frailty, the odyssey, the clash of civilizations, the incomparable language undeniably capturing human experience, these things make ...more
“They say nothing lasts forever and I’m writing you in the voice of an endangered species.”I can’t even. I’m overwhelmed by the beauty and heartbreak of this book. Please experience it.
My favorite quote:
“Maybe we look into mirrors not merely to seek beauty, regardless how illusive, but to make sure, despite the facts, that we are still here. That the hunted body we move in has not yet been annihilated, scraped out. To see yourself still yourself is a refuge men who have not been d ...more
This book is a son’s letter to his illiterate mother, a tender and desperate attempt to put down into words what he never said out loud, and probably never will, to the tormented woman who loved and abused him because she ...more
A twig to hang our old ages on, a current to charge our failed youth from; a blanket to hush our demons from the black, a spring to nourish our wounded dreams underneath. A whole. A hollow. And everything suspended in between is memory.
'Ma. You once told me that memory is a choice. But if you were god, you’d know it’s a flood.'And like a flood, Little Dog untethers me from my world and takes me to his’, where he writes a letter and recounts his life of 28 odd years to his Ma, who is ...more
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|YA Buddy Readers'...: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong - Restarting March 15th 2021||27||186||Mar 23, 2021 05:52AM|
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|Play Book Tag: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong – 5 Stars (Rounded up)||2||21||Feb 08, 2021 11:14AM|