This intricately woven novel is written in the form of an immigrant boy's letter to his illiterate mother. It touches on themes of war, PTSD, race, immigration, queerness, and the violence of American masculinity. I believe the greatness of this book can only be fully understood by sampling some of its best passages, so here's one:
“You once told me that the human eye is god's loneliest creation. How so much of the world passes through the pupil and still it holds nothing. The eye, alone in its socket, doesn't even know there's another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty.”
Ocean Vuong is a poet first, and it shows. This is the best novel I read in 2019. If you love his writing, check out his collection of poetry, "Night Sky With Exit Wounds."
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
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Published: Penguin Press - June 4th, 2019