On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Novel) Book By Ocean Vuong [Online Reading, Summary, Review, Book, Download, PDF]

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is the debut novel of the American Vietnamese poet Ocean Vuong, published on June 4, 2019, by Penguin Press. An epistolary novel is written in the form of a letter from a Vietnamese American son to his illiterate mother.

The novel is written in the form of a letter from a young Vietnamese American nicknamed Little Dog, whose life reflects that of Ocean Vuong. The letter is written for Little Dog's mother, Hong, more often called Rose. The novel also tells the story of Little Dog's grandmother, Lan, who escapes from an arranged marriage during the Vietnam War and becomes a prostitute. He marries a white American soldier and gives birth to a child, although the child's father is probably another man. The boy is the mother of Little Dog, Rose. He barely knows how to read and write, since he left school at the age of five when his school in Vietnam collapsed during a raid of American napalm. She suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder as a result. Rose marries an abusive man but eventually separates from him. Working in a manicure salon, he fights as a single mother living in Hartford, Connecticut with his son and mother Lan. Living in the United States as refugees, the three can barely speak English. Little Dog, who is gay, is mistreated by his mother throughout his childhood. Halfway through the novel, Little Dog meets a young white man named Trevor while working on a tobacco farm one summer, and the two begin a romantic relationship. Trevor eventually becomes addicted to opioids and then overdoses and dies.

There is an immediacy in On Earth We Are Briefly Beautiful that almost feels unique. The author Ocean Vuong was first published as a poet, and the poetry of this novel, present in language, in images and ideas, is unforgettable. A narrator is a young man in his twenties, nicknamed Little Dog by his family, who is writing a long letter to his Vietnamese mother. Little Dog and his family grew up poor in Hartford, Connecticut, but their struggles do not end there. His mother still carries the burden of war, just like his grandmother, and Little Dog's struggles reach not only the traumas of Vietnam but also in his efforts to fit into a world that sees him as another. Eventually, he finds some comfort in an unfortunate relationship with an older "redneck" child, but that is only temporary. What is permanent is his desire to write and, of course, his family. Vuong almost seems to be trying to superinject images, emotions, and language on each page, and with great effect; But no writer can achieve absolute perfection. There are very high moments in this novel, many of them. There will also be times (although they will not agree on which ones) when readers feel that writing fails. This is how great art is made.

About Book

Author Ocean Vuong
Audio read by Ocean Vuong
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Penguin Press
Publication date
June 4, 2019
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 256
ISBN 978-0-525-56202-3
LC Class PS3622.U96 O52 2019

About the author Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong is the author of the debut novel, On Earth I'm Briefly Gorgeous, by Penguin Press (2019) and soon in 12 other languages ​​worldwide. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a 2016 New York Times Top 10 book, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, Whiting Award, Thom Gunn Award and Forward Prize for the best first collection. A Ruth Lilly Fellow of the Poetry Foundation, his honors include grants from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Academy of American Poets and the Handcart Prize.

Vuong's writings have appeared in The Atlantic, Harpers, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for younger poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, along with Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Justin Trudeau, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of the "32 Essential Asian American Writers" and has been included in the NPR profile "All Things Considered", PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man and The New Yorker.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an assistant professor in the MFA Program for poets and writers in Umass-Amherst.

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