On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Hardback)Ocean Vuong (author)
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Already being claimed as the Great American Novel, poet Ocean Vuong’s debut work is a transcendent piece of fiction about the limits of language and the over-riding human desire for heartfelt communication. Framed as a letter from a young Vietnamese man to his illiterate mother, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous resounds with a raw emotional honesty and multi-layered understanding of the lingering wounds of colonialism.
Longlisted for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize 2020
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 late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born - a history whose epicentre 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 the American moment, immersed as it is 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, TS Eliot Prize for Poetry winner for Night Sky With Exit Wounds, 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.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 377 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 144 mm
'This impressive debut hints at even greater things to come.' - The Times
'Vuong can write with exceptional beauty and precision.' - The Saturday Telegraph
'A bruised, breathtaking love letter never meant to be sent. A marvel.' - Marlon James
'There are passages in the novel of real beauty and originality' - The Guardian
'An ideal writer for our times.' - The Sunday Times
'A graceful exploration of race, class, and masculinity.' - The Sunday Express
'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a masterpiece: a staggeringly beautiful book, full of wisdom and pain. It seems obvious now, though it didn't before, that a young gay poet born in Saigon would write the Great American Novel. I really think it's that. A huge gift to the world.' - Max Porter
'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous will be described - rightly - as luminous, shattering, urgent, necessary. But the word I keep circling back to is raw: that's how powerful the emotions here are, and how you'll feel after reading it - scoured down to bone. With a poet's precision, Ocean Vuong examines whether putting words to one's experience can bridge wounds that span generations, and whether it's ever possible to be truly heard by those we love most.' - Celeste Ng
'Look out: here's a new, beautiful, battering ram of fiction. Vuong is rewriting what fiction is supposed to be and it is a privilege to watch.' - Daisy Johnson
'This is one of the best novels I've ever read. Ocean Vuong is a master. This book is a masterpiece.' - Tommy Orange
'One is not often given the chance to apply words like "brilliant" and "remarkable" to any novels, certainly not first novels. Thank you, Ocean Vuong, for this brilliant and remarkable first novel."' - Michael Cunningham
'Ocean Vuong runs up against the limits of language-this book is addressed to a mother who cannot read it-and expands our sense of what literature can make visible, thinkable, felt across borders and generations and genres. This is a courageous, embodied inquiry into the tangle of colonial and personal histories. It is also a gorgeous argument for astonishment over irony-for the transformative possibilities of love.' - Ben Lerner
'This book - gorgeous is right there in the title - finds incredible, aching beauty in the deep observation of love in many forms. Ocean Vuong's debut novel contains all the power of his poetry, and I finished the book knowing that we are seeing only the very beginning of his truly magnificent talent.' - Emma Straub
'Ocean Vuong is a truly remarkable new voice... an extraordinary talent.' - Andrew Marr
Ocean Vuong: The Waterstones Interview
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