Read Review

Remarkable literary fiction
In a remarkably beautiful, often painful first novel, Ocean Vuong writes an honest and searing letter to his illiterate Mother. Knowing she will never read it, he is desperate to work through his memories, and tell his own story, as he pieces together his fractured life.
Born in Vietnam after the war, then immigrating to a life of poverty in Connecticut, the main character “Little Dog” describes a childhood of being raised by his Mother and Grandmother who were often loving, yet mentally ill and abusive. He is aware that their behavior is due to their arduous upbringing and PTSD as survivors of the Vietnam War, but he cannot turn away from them. Vuong’s brutal honesty and poetic layers create an intimate autobiographical story of a boy and his longings, as he navigates the adult world and finds his own voice.
Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous took my breath away, and is one of my favorite books this year.

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