ON EARTH WE'RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS
“Like so many immigrant writers before him, Vuong has taken the English he acquired with difficulty and not only made it his own — he’s made it better.”
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"Reading ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ can feel like watching an act of endurance art, or a slow, strange piece of magic in which bones become sonatas."
—Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
"[A]n unforgettable–indeed, gorgeous–novel, a book that seeks to affect its readers as profoundly as Little Dog is affected, not only by his lover but also by the person who brought him into the world.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, TIME
“One of the most beautiful novels I have ever read, a literary marvel and a work of extraordinary humanity...truly a masterpiece.”
--Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers
“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, author of Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04
"Vuong writes with a clear beauty and insistence unlike any other writer working today."
"More than anything I’ve lately encountered, Vuong’s novel is a burning effigy of The Way We Live Now, sending the idea of “American values” up in flames."
“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, author of The Hours
“Reading Ocean Vuong’s first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, I feel as if I am watching a small sheet of paper unfold and unfold and unfold… Vuong offers observation and respect for what has been given, and an awe for life and what it takes to survive.”
“[A] haunting meditation on loss, love, and the limits of human connection.”
Praise for On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous:
"Vuong is a mightily gifted observer...moving and rarely less than excellent."
--The New York Times
"Emerging from the most marginalized circumstances, [Vuong] has produced a lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal."
--The Washington Post
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a book of sustained beauty and lyricism, earnest and relentless, a series of high notes that trembles exquisitely almost without break...[M]arvelous."
--Los Angeles Times
"Raw...fearless. In prose as radiant and assured as his poetry, Vuong explores the ability of stories to heal generational wounds."
"[S]et against quixotic hopes of the American Dream and the devastation of the opioid crisis. Vuong’s deeply felt work might just be the first great fiction of this modern, homegrown travesty, but it’s also a story that is enriched by both the beautiful and the ugly currents of American history."
“A bruised, breathtaking love letter never meant to be sent. A powerful testimony to magic and loss. A marvel.”
--Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
“This is one of the best novels I've ever read...Ocean Vuong is a master. This book a masterpiece."
--Tommy Orange, author of There, There
“Sometimes a writer comes along and stops your breath. I’m reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and there is so little air moving through my body as I read. When writing is this good, who needs air?”
—Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
“A candid meditation on masculinity, art, and the inescapable pull of opioids…Vuong peels apart phrases and reconfigures them into new, surprising ideas.”
“[A]n epistolary masterpiece...Fearless, revelatory, extraordinary; an essential acquisition for every library.”
--Library Journal (starred review)
“[Vuong’s] first foray into fiction is poetic in the deepest sense—not merely on the level of language, but in its structure and its intelligence…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 (starred review)
“Casting a truly literary spell, Vuong's tale of language and origin, beauty and the power of story, is an enrapturing first novel.” — Booklist (starred review)
“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, author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere
“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, author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers