Reviews

  • "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
  • "A bruised, breathtaking love letter never meant to be sent. A marvel."

    Marlon James
  • "This is one of the best novels I've ever read. Ocean Vuong is a master. This book is a masterpiece."

    Tommy Orange
  • "This is a stunning, sensuous novel that paints a portrait of a mother and her child struggling to work out how to live in a new land. There is fear and anger but the boy’s love for his mother – and for the world that surrounds him – sings off the page."

    CRE, Monocle
  • "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