Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
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I knew this book would have an emotional wallop so I held off for a while. It's clear Ocean Vuong is drawing on his own experience in this novel, because it shares some of the sentiments and emotions I experienced in his poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds.

Oh how I love when a poet writes essays or novels. The language is powerful, the way some pieces are linear but others return to themes and core experiences is very moving. It starts out speaking to the violence in families, looks at language and belonging, moves to sexuality and connection (even when the other person is flawed,) all through the narration of "Little Dog" in a letter to his mama, one he doesn't believe she will ever read, so he can be honest.

I find some parallels with The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, in the sense that they both used fiction to explore their experiences leaving Vietnam and coming of age in America, but Nguyen's exploration is topical and political while Vuong explores the heart and mind. Both look at memory but the two novels are so very different.

The WaPo review by Ron Charles pointed me to the audio excerpt in SoundCloud read by the author. If your heart can take it, the audio sounds powerful, but I would have had to take even more time to listen because I find the emotional intensity a bit overwhelming. But, you know, more of that please.

I had a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. It came out June 4, 2019.
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Reading Progress

June 15, 2019 – Started Reading
June 15, 2019 – Shelved
June 16, 2019 –
99.0%
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: read2019
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: asia2019
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: location-vietnam
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: location-usa-connecticut
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewcopy
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: ebooks
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley
June 18, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Joshua Greer I'm just getting into this, and it's beautiful and intense!


Jenny (Reading Envy) Joshua wrote: "I'm just getting into this, and it's beautiful and intense!"

Indeed! I wrote a short review in Instagram but wanted to mull over it a bit more before I wrote one here.


Joshua Greer Awesome! I’ll be sure to check it out when I finish.


message 4: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes It's on my list!


Angela M I don’t know if I could take the audio after reading this . Such a beautifully written book.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Angela M wrote: "I don’t know if I could take the audio after reading this . Such a beautifully written book."

It would be pretty intense


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