Tuesday, October 1, 2019

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong

Published: 2019
Publisher: Penguin Press
Genre: Literary, Poetry, LGBTQ, Asian American, Vietnamese, Connecticut
Hardback: 246
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Let me begin again.

Zombie sighting:
Mai, who had driven all night from Florida, shuffled through the rooms, cooking food and making tea in a zombie-like daze.
-page 198

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.

My two-bits:
Gorgeously done in epistolary form with beautiful and moving passages filled with painful memories of the past.


* part of Books and States challenge (here): Connecticut
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu