On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous


This book is beautiful and bountiful. It is poetic and devastating and makes me wish I could write like Ocean Vuong.

It’s a letter from son to mother, coming out and coming to terms with the history of being a Vietnamese American and the wreckages of war.

There are images in the book that will haunt me for the rest of my life, and there are sentences that I will quote for just as long.

Lines such as “a boy on a pink bike must learn, above all else, the law of gravity” when describing a bullying incident for riding the wrong-colored bike. Breathtaking and heartbreaking in just one sentence. Or how about when the author describes us as having a “single use life” like a single use napkin or single use contact lenses? A single use life.  Yep, that one’s gonna stay with me for awhile.

If you love to bathe in the wonder of a well-crafted sentence, then definitely pick up this novel. It may take a while to get through, only because for me, I had to stop every time that I was struck by a description or the perfect piece of dialogue just to savour it in all its wordsmanship glory.

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