Little Dog finds solace with Trevor, and their intensely physical relationship brings them together, highlighting key oppositions within the novel: death and sex, pain and pleasure, excrement and ecstasy, violence and love. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is an autobiographical novel in the form of a letter — a letter written by a son named Little Dog to his illiterate mother. I was onstage with him as his interviewer, and what struck me about Vuong was his marvelous combination of vulnerability and strength. Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling. A major section of the novel takes place outside his mother’s orbit, when Little Dog is a teenager. Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2020? “A monster is not such a terrible thing to be,” he thinks. “You once told me that memory is a choice,” he writes. Now he teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. The narrator, nicknamed Little Dog, looks back as a way of embracing his past and reaching beyond it. Save on the cover price & free e-Gift card for Giftees! Thus no bombs = no family = no me.”. Vuong ties the private terrors of supposedly inconsequential people to the larger forces pulsing through America. If there’s an element of futility in this project, there’s also a larger element of hope. Vuong also displays a fondness for haunting paradoxes, such as, “Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.” And those lyrical reflections are counterbalanced by searing recollections, as when Little Dog overhears his mother at the sink whispering to herself: “I’m not a monster. They will speak of the political with embarrassment.”, Vuong refuses to be embarrassed. By daring to allow himself to be hurt, Little Dog finds, at least for a while, that most precious of resources: love. This appears in the June 17, 2019 issue of TIME. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Is a Daring Tale of Queer Love and Pain Vuong was born in Ho Chi Minh City and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child. The novel is framed as a candid letter to his mother, an abusive, volcanic woman who cannot read. Eliot Prize. Mother and daughter know what most Vietnamese and too few Americans know–that the war burned not only soldiers but also civilians, including women and children. Grappling with the limits of language, he is … Vuong didn’t learn to read until he was 11, but before he was 30, his poetry had won a slate of major honors, including the T.S. At times, the tension between Little Dog’s passion and his concern seems to explode the very structure of traditional narrative, and the pages break apart into the lines of an evocative prose poem — not so much briefly gorgeous as permanently stunning. In summary, his is the archetypal immigrant story on rocket fuel. May 31 marks the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, and the best present we could possibly receive is Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.” The connection between the Good Gray Poet and this young Vietnamese immigrant may seem tenuous, but with his radical approach to form and his daring mix of personal reflection, historical recollection and sexual exploration, 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. The narrator, nicknamed Little Dog, looks back as a … With his fondness for getting high, Trevor is an easy mark for a drug industry determined to pump OxyContin into the veins of as many people as possible. “You have a bellyful of English,” Little Dog’s mother tells him.

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