On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Longlist, National Book Awards 2019 for Fiction

ISBN 9780525562023
Penguin Press / Penguin Random House
Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, and 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. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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.

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