In summary, his is the archetypal immigrant story on rocket fuel. That willingness to solve the equation of his own existence, no matter what its components, is a hallmark of Vuong’s entrancing new book, which is labeled a novel but draws heavily on the events of his life. He’s best known as an award-winning young poet, and he’s now getting attention for his novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.But I … But “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is irreducible by such easy categorization. But that’s not the only challenge hanging over their clandestine relationship. Ocean Vuong Vintage, £8.99, pp256 (paperback) The central idea in Vuong’s memorable debut novel is love after trauma – … But the story he tells in “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is far more complex and harrowing. I’m a mother.” The distinction is not so clear to him. Their love is transgressive in more ways than one: it is both queer and interracial. Eliot Prize, and been published in Poetry magazine, the New Yorker and other prestigious journals. The narrator, nicknamed Little Dog, looks back as a … 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. There he falls in love with the owner’s grandson, Trevor, a high school junior who can find no way to reconcile his redneck wildness with his own tenderness and homosexuality. “But so am I–which is why I can’t turn away from you.”, Nguyen is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer. 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. Building on the themes of Night Sky With Exit Wounds, the novel adds a plot in which the teenage Little Dog, a perpetual outsider, finds love with a white boy, Trevor. The healing that finally arrives is fraught with pain and paradox, but no less welcome and remarkable. School is an arena of bullies and bafflement, racism and rejection, but he finds an unexpected cloister of freedom working on a tobacco farm during the summer. This appears in the June 17, 2019 issue of TIME. As Vuong explains in his 2016 poetry collection, “Night Sky With Exit Wounds,” his grandfather was a U.S. soldier who found a farm girl in Vietnam. Eliot Prize for his poetry. Vote Now, Metal Monolith Discovered in Utah Wilderness, You can unsubscribe at any time. 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. Vuong’s explicit descriptions of their erotic adventures in the barn only highlight the depth of Trevor’s denial. Thus no bombs = no family = no me.”. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling. In his poems, he often explores transformation, desire, and violent loss. On his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous in “Survival as a Creative Force: An Interview with Ocean Vuong” in The Paris Review (2019 Jun 5) The novel insists that there is power, and with it, agency, in survival—which includes the interracial tensions you speak of—because trauma is still an integral reality for queer folks. Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Little Dog is turned inside out by his search for validation, and Vuong imbues his quest with meaning that extends beyond the personal. Going Home With Ocean Vuong. But just as clearly, he remembers enjoying moments of real affection and listening to her captivating stories. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous By Ocean Vuong About this Poet Born in Saigon, poet and editor Ocean Vuong was raised in Hartford, Connecticut, and earned a BA at Brooklyn College (CUNY). They will speak of the political with embarrassment.”, Vuong refuses to be embarrassed. The poems from his book Night Sky With Exit Wounds expose raw hurt, love and joy, and in performing them, he demonstrated the confidence required to reveal himself. “You have a bellyful of English,” Little Dog’s mother tells him. 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. to and affiliated sites. Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2020? “A monster is not such a terrible thing to be,” he thinks. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. “Thus my mother exists,” he writes. (The audiobook version, read in Vuong’s haunting, plaintive voice, is almost too painful to endure. His debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, was published in 2019. By daring to allow himself to be hurt, Little Dog finds, at least for a while, that most precious of resources: love. Grappling with the limits of language, he is … Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. By signing up you are agreeing to our, The 10 Best YA and Children's Books of 2020. Kindness and wisdom, always flickering through these pages, begin to accrue more thickly. If there’s an element of futility in this project, there’s also a larger element of hope. The 20 books to read this summer But the story he tells in “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is far more complex and harrowing. 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. The fact that we can hear Vuong’s voice today in America stems from a function of tragedy and serendipity. Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. “I didn’t know that the war was still inside you,” he confesses, “that there was a war to begin with, that once it enters you it never leaves — but merely echoes, a sound forming the face of your own son.”. On Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m., Ocean Vuong will be at Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington. He goes where the hurt is, creating a novel saturated with yearning and ache.

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