On Earth Were Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth Were Briefly Gorgeous Poet Ocean Vuong S Debut Novel Is A Shattering Portrait Of A Family, A First Love, And 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 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 HeardWith 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 I went back and forth wondering if I should give this a 4 or 5 star rating.it was just such a combination of beautiful writing poetic, raw and brutalthat it had to end up with a 5 star, for me This novel is a letter from little dog a Vietnamese American gay man to his Vietnamese mother.The family came to America when little dog was a little boy with just a few relatives, settled finally in Connecticut where life was tough.I m not going to go into the story because you need to just read it, just going to say that it is quite autobiographical after reading some articles about Ocean Vuong I ve attached an article about the author.https www.google.com amp s amp.theg All freedom is relative you know too well and sometimes it s no freedom at all, but simply the cage widening far away from you, the bars abstracted with distance but still there, as when they free wild animals into nature preserves only to contain them yet again by larger borders But I took it anyway, that widening4 1 2 stars Stunning.On Earth We re Briefly Gorgeous is quite a book It is not surprising that the author is a poet, as this reads almost like a poetry collection prose poems, each capturing a moment, a memory, a feeling, or an idea so beautifully It doesn t follow a regular narrative structure, but is instead a series of snippets or moments The style won t be for everyone, but for those who love the raw punches of poetry, it is a fantastic book.I found it difficult to believe this was fiction There is something about Little Dog s story, a certain raw honesty and earnestness, that seems to come from a place of truth Maybe because much of it does The author draws on recent and historical events, stories of well known figures, artists and tragedies to weave his fictional story with every inch of our reality.The book is a letter from Little Dog to his illiterate mother He talks frankly about race, gender, sexuality, masculinity, grief and language, without allowing the book to be overwhelmed by the heavy subject matter The last one language is a major theme, and the author explores the importance of language on both a micro and macro level the choice of individual words and phrases, and the power or lack of bestowed upon an individual by having access to language and literacy For such a tiny novel, it is huge in its scope From the Vietnam War to Barthes to Tiger Woods to 50 Cent to Little Dog s first romance with a white boy, it s somehow both a philosophical book about humanity and language, and a deeply personal bildungsroman It is impossible to categorize, but it is undeniably both brief and gorgeous.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Ocean is a brilliant writer and I am a fan of his work I even published him once in PANK It has been thrilling to watch him soar The prose in this novel is sublime The way he writes is just exquisite He writes the body so well He writes about the complicated relationship between a mother and son with real tenderness, with compelling honesty He writes sex better than almost anyone out there There are so many lines that gutted me or exhilarated me or stunned me I wanted to sit with each line and just feel it as deeply as I could The intimacy of the novel as a letter between a son and mother was poignant That said, I just didn t fall in love with this book The prose was, perhaps, too beautiful, too resonant, without enough story behind it That is a personal preference, the desire for story As I got deeper into the novel, I kept wanting a clearer sense of where the story was going, I wanted to feel like there was substance to hold all that style I do still recommend this novel because I ve never read anything like it. Dear Ma , within the narrator s head or it might have been his heart the name begins tolling, very much like a bell, I am writing to reach you even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are And although he knows his mother is illiterate her education capped at the age of 5 after a napalm raid destroyed her schoolhouse in Vietnam and thus, all his hours and pain will be folded in paper and put away, the words kept tumbling out, catching fire as they went.He is Little Dog a nickname given to him by his grandmother because to love something is to name it after something so worthless it might be left untouched and alive But he is a wound in the fabric of the world, and onto this letter, he is bleeding.In his first novel, On Earth We re Briefly Gorgeous , Vuong assumes the voice of Little Dog, who writes to his mother like being pushed from a great height, tumbling down, snatching at anything that would prevent him from falling The reader could just imagine her there, hovering just at the edge of remembrance stooped with decades of working in factories and nail salons, wilting her like an unwatered flower those places where dreams become the calcified knowledge of what it means to be awake in American bones with or without citizenship aching, toxic, and underpaid A mother the tighter he gripped, the she melted away like trying to hold on to the reflection of the moon Tenderness, resentment, delight, anger Little Dog s voice carried all of it when he said her name It carried every blow, a shock of bright pain against his skin, and the gentle tales that soothed his fighting soul, and the words struggled with the contradiction Another figure in the periphery of his vision a grandmother, trembling with age, whose mind sometimes breaks, all the terrors pouring out, once a teenage bride, escaping an arranged marriage, her body, her purple dress keeping her alive as a prostitute for American GIs.Neither of them whole because no one is ever whole in the aftermath of brutal war and its bloody end.And in another corner of Little Dog s mind, creeping farther over it with every page, is Trevor They met on a summer job on a tobacco barn Trevor s grandfather owned, and there, they shared the sensation that they were absorbing each other, melting together in an blistering crucible Did you ever feel colored in when a boy found you with his mouth But Trevor s sweet, perishing beauty is withering into earth with every swallow of the painkillers he s addicted to, lashed to a flood of misery and self loathing, and theirs was a love affair as brittle and breakable as a twig under ice.Vuong understands the eloquence of violence, and his words buzz with a red savagery, blooming, drawing as much blood from the story as possible Whether it s his nuanced yet viscerally potent exploration of sexuality, or his simmering, mordant probing of family, first love, immigration and fate, his writing is a pleasure to read.His narrator, Little Dog, writes as if he is embracing his memories a final time, pressing hard as if to set them into his skin He writes with the kind of honesty that bypasses language and finds its way into your heart, uncut His words are sometimes as soft as a shawl that wraps against the cold, but other times, they cut to the quick like the rasp of a whetstone down a blade Oftentimes, though, the alphabet seems to transmute itself into incoherent pitchforks, wavering as if this were a fraying dream The result is a book that can t be described without borrowing some of the author s own language I m not telling you a story so much as a shipwreck the pieces floating, lit up, finally legible On Earth We re Briefly Gorgeous affected me like the gentle stroke of a callused palm, and I wanted to lean into it and let it stroke me forever I couldn t stop reading, as if the words were a rope and if I only kept it unbroken I would be held by it, unable to leave and yet, at the same time, I often grasped for a feeling of escape, a moment to gasp for breath.Vuong shows Little Dog s feelings as water shows ripples, and one can only assume that he must have drawn on some wellspring of sorrow within himself growing up in America, queer and the son of an immigrant His words are so perfectly evocative of heartache, and the impossible familiarity of it snagged at me.With Little Dog s confessional missive before me, my own childhood s brutalities shone through as they never had before So much of what I felt reading Little Dog s words to his mother delivered on the page as soon as they felt the brush of the dark, unreal places where pain in a thousand variations and memory mingle cannot ever crystallize into something small enough for words They were the amalgamation of all the almost screams that scraped my throat as I swallowed them down, and sometimes, my sheer capacity for feeling got to be so unwieldy that I staggered under it Little Dog writes, each word desperate than the last, When does a war end When can I say your name and have it mean only your name and not what you left behind The answer is not as easy as paring rot from fruit But in his bruised and aching letter, for the space of a few hundred pages, Little Dog stops winging doggedly onwards, dragging the uncertainty of the answer, and lets it all spill out of his body, onto the paper, in search for solace I m breaking us apart again so that I might carry us somewhere else I do not doubt that readers of all sorts will find solace in Vuong s words, or at the very least, something to connect with in this capaciously moving and ultimately hopeful novel.BLOG TWITTER INSTAGRAM TUMBLR

Ocean Vuong is the author of the debut novel, On Earth We re Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press 2019 and forthcoming in 15 other languages worldwide He is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best Firs

[Reading] ➶ On Earth Were Briefly Gorgeous  ➽ Ocean Vuong – Stockbag.info
  • Hardcover
  • 246 pages
  • On Earth Were Briefly Gorgeous
  • Ocean Vuong
  • English
  • 23 May 2019
  • 9780525562023

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