Brilliant, heartbreaking and highly original, Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling.
'A marvel' Marlon James
This 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. It tells of Vietnam, of the lasting impact of war, and of his family's struggle to forge a new future. And it serves as a doorway into parts of Little Dog's life his mother has never known - episodes of bewilderment, fear and passion - all the while moving closer to an unforgettable revelation.
'A masterpiece' Max Porter
'Luminous, shattering, urgent, necessary' Celeste Ng
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., The Times
A stunning, beautiful book... His writing is phenomenal... Simply brilliant., BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
This is some of the most moving writing I’ve read… The tenderness of the prose feels like a triumphagainst a world hellbent on embittering the tenderhearted… the truths arrived at in this book are valuable precisely because they are steeped in feeling., New York Times
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. -- Ron Charles, Washington Post
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. -- Joseph O'Connor, Sunday Independent *Books of the Year*
Vuong is a prodigious talent, his handling of words and images both brutal and delicate, his treatment of violence, sex and the body radically clear-eyed., Financial Times
Vuong as a writer is daring. He goes where the hurt is, creating a novel saturated with yearning and ache… He transforms the emotional, the visceral, the individual into the political in an unforgettable – indeed, gorgeous – novel., Time Magazine
Ocean Vuong’s fantastic new novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous reminded me that every word can be an incantation, and that beauty does hard and important work. -- Rebecca Solnit, New Statesman
A stunning, frankly unforgettable debut novel… It's not surprising that novels by poets often include some of the loveliest prose, but Vuong's is especially luminous… On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous is so many things; a love story from a son to his mother; an exploration of masculinity and race; and a series of limpid thoughts about the world… Everything about this book makes me feel glad to live in an era when the novel still matters, when the human ability to bring together words and sentences can lead to such scintillating, poignant language. -- James Robertson, Herald Scotland