Penguin presents the audiobook edition of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, written and read by Ocean Vuong.
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 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.
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2020**
**A FINALIST FOR THE PEN/FAULKNER AWARD 2020**
Everything is beautiful in this debut… Vuong has originality running through his veins, and a good deal of humour and impish charm… This impressive debut hints at even greater things to come.
A stunning, beautiful book... His writing is phenomenal... Simply brilliant.
This is some of the most moving writing I’ve read… The tenderness of the prose feels like a triumph against a world hellbent on embittering the tenderhearted… the truths arrived at in this book are valuable precisely because they are steeped in feeling.
Vuong is surely a literary descendant of the author of Leaves of Grass. Emerging from the most marginalized circumstances, he has produced a lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal… Not so much briefly gorgeous as permanently stunning.
Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous confirms him as a master of inventive language that has its roots in the spoken word but reaches shimmering heights of lyricism, too.
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Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. Read an extract from one of the most anticipated books of 2019 ahead of its publication in June.