On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Little Dog writes a letter to his mother who cannot read. 

The letter is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeousthe first novel from poet Ocean Vuong.

The letter is about where they’ve come from—Vietnam, violence, poverty—and who he is becoming. He has lain between his mother and his grandmother under a purple sky, and he has lain in a barn under drying tobacco leaves with a boy named Trevor. He has helped his mother in the pungent nail salon, and he has come out to her inside a Dunkin’ Donuts. And she has replied, “Now I have something to tell you.”

There’s no traditional plot here, no jewel heist, no murder mystery uprooting Hartford, Connecticut—just the mystery of a long, looping life. Justin Torres wrote that this book “pays attention not to what our thoughts make us feel, but to what our feelings make us think.” 

And maybe one day, in another body, Little Dog thinks, his mother will find this book on a shelf. And she will open it. PLEASE READ

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, from Penguin