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The Resource On earth we're briefly gorgeous : a novel, Ocean Vuong

On earth we're briefly gorgeous : a novel, Ocean Vuong

Label
On earth we're briefly gorgeous : a novel
Title
On earth we're briefly gorgeous
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Ocean Vuong
Title variation
On earth we are briefly gorgeous
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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 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"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • ALA Notable Book, 2020.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2019.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ This first novel by poet Vuong (Night Sky with Exit Wounds, 2016) is narrated by Little Dog, a Vietnamese refugee who grew up in Hartford with his mother and his maternal grandmother, Lan. A writer now, he addresses his story as a letter to his mother, who cannot read, ""to tell you everything you'll never know."" He recalls her painful attempts to toughen him and his simultaneous rage for all that frays her—work, memories, difficulty communicating. At 14 he gets a job cutting tobacco, and there meets Trevor. Two years older, Trevor works to escape his alcoholic father and makes Little Dog feel ""seen—I who had seldom been seen by anyone."" Their covert love blooms brilliantly as Trevor, battling his own demons, handles Little Dog with bewildering warmth. This plot line is its own speeding train, while Little Dog's letter also reveals the family's inextricable legacy from the Vietnam War. In Vuong's acrobatic storytelling, Lan's traumatic wartime tale unspools in a spiraling dive, and a portrait of Trevor emerges in the snapshots of a 10-page prose poem. Casting a truly literary spell, Vuong's tale of language and origin, beauty and the power of story, is an enrapturing first novel. -- Annie Bostrom (Reviewed 4/15/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 16, p21)
  • Poet Vuong’s frank first novel (after Night Sky with Exit Wounds) takes the form of a letter from a man to his illiterate mother in which 28-year-old Little Dog, a writer who’s left the impoverished Hartford, Conn., of his youth for New York City, retraces his coming of age. His childhood is marked by abuse from his overworked mother, as well as the traumas he’s inherited from his mother’s and grandmother’s experiences during the Vietnam War. Having left Vietnam with them as a young boy, and after the incarceration of his father, Little Dog’s attempts to assimilate include contending with language barriers and the banal cruelty of the supposedly well-intentioned. He must also adapt to the world as a gay man and as a writer—the novel’s beating heart rests in Little Dog’s first, doomed love affair with another teenage boy, and in his attempts to describe what being a writer truly is. Vuong’s prose shines in the intimate scenes between the young men, but sometimes the lyricism has a straining, vague quality (“They say nothing lasts forever but they’re just scared it will last longer than they will love it”; “But the thing about forever is you can’t take it back”). Nevertheless, this is a haunting meditation on loss, love, and the limits of human connection. (June)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 04/01/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 13, p)
  • A young man named Little Dog writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read, investigating a family history begun in Vietnam and addressing stark issues of race, class, and masculinity. If Vuong's debut novel is anything like his exquisite full-length poetry debut, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a T.S. Eliot Prize winner and LJ Best Poetry Book, it will be sensational. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed Winter2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 21, p53)
  • /* Starred Review */ A young man writes a letter to his illiterate mother in an attempt to make sense of his traumatic beginnings. When Little Dog is a child growing up in Hartford, he is asked to make a family tree. Where other children draw full green branches full of relatives, Little Dog's branches are bare, with just five names. Born in Vietnam, Little Dog now lives with his abusive—and abused—mother and his schizophrenic grandmother. The Vietnam War casts a long shadow on his life: His mother is the child of an anonymous American soldier—his grandmother survived as a sex worker during the conflict. Without siblings, without a father, Little Dog's loneliness is exacerbated by his otherness: He is small, poor, Asian, and queer. Much of the novel recounts his first love affair as a teen, with a "redneck" from the white part of town, as he confesses to his mother how this doomed relationship is akin to his violent childhood. In telling the stories of those who exist in the margins, Little Dog says, "I never wanted to build a ‘body of work,' but to preserve these, our bodies, breathing and unaccounted for, inside the work." Vuong has written one of the most lauded poetry debuts in recent memory (Night Sky with Exit Wounds, 2016), and his first foray into fiction is poetic in the deepest sense—not merely on the level of language, but in its structure and its intelligence, moving associationally from memory to memory, quoting Barthes, then rapper 50 Cent. The result is an uncategorizable hybrid of what reads like memoir, bildungsroman, and book-length poem. More important than labels, though, is the novel's earnest and open-hearted belief in the necessity of stories and language for our survival. A raw and incandescently written foray into fiction by one of our most gifted poets. (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2019)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10781519
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1988-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Vuong, Ocean
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Vietnamese Americans
  • Mothers and sons
Label
On earth we're briefly gorgeous : a novel, Ocean Vuong
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
246 pages
Isbn
9780525562023
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2018046290
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1101966100
Label
On earth we're briefly gorgeous : a novel, Ocean Vuong
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
246 pages
Isbn
9780525562023
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2018046290
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1101966100

Library Locations

    • Bluebonnet Regional Branch LibraryBorrow it
      9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70810, US
      30.365310 -91.105254
    • Carver Branch LibraryBorrow it
      720 Terrace St., Baton Rouge, LA, 70802, US
      30.436230 -91.183159
    • Main LibraryBorrow it
      7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70806, US
      30.443886 -91.107152
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