Dec. 15 – Ocean Vuong – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous [Advent Calendar]

The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2019
Advent Calendar
December 15

 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous:
A Novel

Ocean Vuong

 
Hardback: Penguin Press, 2019
Buy Now: [  Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]
 
“Vuong writes about the yearning for connection that afflicts immigrants. But ‘ocean’ also describes the distinctive way Vuong writes: His words are liquid, flowing, rolling, teasing, mighty and overpowering. When Vuong’s mother gave him the oh-so-apt name of Ocean, she inadvertently called into being a writer whose language some of us readers could happily drown in…Like so many immigrant writers before him, Vuong has taken the English he acquired with difficulty and not only made it his own — he’s made it better.”
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air


“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 [Walt Whitman]. Emerging from the most marginalized circumstances, he has produced a lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal…[The] narrative flows — rushing from one anecdote to another, swirling past and present, constantly swelling with poignancy…Vuong ties the private terrors of supposedly inconsequential people to the larger forces pulsing through America…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.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post

 
 

LISTEN to an NPR interview with the novelist

 



 

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