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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Narrated by: Ocean Vuong
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

Non-member price: $33.43

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, written and read by Ocean Vuong.

Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender and highly original - poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late 20s, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born - a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam - and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one's own story as it is about the obliterating the silence of not being heard. 

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive and how to make of it a kind of joy powers the most important debut novel of many years.

©2019 Ocean Vuong (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

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  • deb
  • 25-08-2019

Sublime

Simply sublime
Thank you Ocean Vuong for this gift of beauty
Perfectly read of course by the writer himself

2 people found this helpful

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  • sitatdesk
  • 19-02-2020

Poetry became Prose

This is a very emotional experience. I think it is also a very good depiction of America's small rural communities and non-famous cities. Interesting in comparison to Hillbilly Elegy.

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  • S. Collis
  • 21-01-2020

Couldn't bear the Author's narration

I will get this again as a book to read as I thought it sounded really well written, but OH NO! the author's narration completely ruined it for me! I tried for a good few chapters but in the end, had to give up. It's the tone of awed reverence that he gives to his own writing that just made me feel queasy. I should have looked at the other reviews that said similar things - seems others have managed to overcome it and enjoy it in the end, but I really couldn't get round it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 04-07-2019

Extraordinary writing

Beautiful, excruciatingly moving, illuminating and a book that gets totally below the skin. An unforgettable experience.

4 people found this helpful

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  • MS REBECCA WARREN
  • 07-10-2019

An Incredible Novel - Poetry

This is perhaps one of the best books I have ever listened to. At first I found the narration difficult, listened to the first 2 chapters and kept missing bits and having to go back. I persevered and was astounded. This guy can write he is a poet and the poetry is incredible. For such a young person to have the insight, intelligence, thoughtfulness and the ability to convey his story in the medium of poetry is just a bit mind blowing. Thank you Ocean Vuong and thank your mother for having you and your grandma for having her

2 people found this helpful

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  • tamara
  • 01-08-2019

An experiential monologue

I teared up a handful of times at how Ocean handles the prose, as well as the poetic tragedy + history of life. Through ritual, remedy and curiosity, the writer takes us on a journey of finding and sharing selfhood, of integrating identity into a biological as well as countrys family, of the privilege of language and the preservation of culture. He does this by a continuous ode to the woman, land and memories that came before him. This is a true treasured story. He explores themes we need to be highlighting, and does it in a way, that is so personal and honest and inquisitive, that it melts away the burdens the sentences often carry, because of their heaviness or drudgery in taking every step to get to the now. I can't wait for his next book. X

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  • Stephanie
  • 16-08-2019

loved it

Delighted to have read this, such an interesting story. The author is interesting and articulate.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Naomi
  • 13-08-2019

listen to it and make up your own mind

I found this hard to listen to at first. the intensity of the subject matter the intensity of the authors voice and her rhythmic performance of the novel like listening to someone drawing deep breaths while running a marathon for their life.
but that's the point
beautiful fierce and delicate like a life
thank you ocean vuong

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  • Pauline O Connell
  • 11-02-2020

A stunningly written story

I didn’t want this book to end. It’s stunningly written & such an important story to be told.
One of my favourite audiobooks ever.

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  • Molly
  • 29-01-2020

one of my favourite audiobooks ever

I finished this and immediately wanted to listen again. Amazing, breathtaking writing and gorgeous reading.

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  • Alaina Franklin
  • 16-01-2020

Stunning

Elegant. Lyrical. Raw. Tender.

My favourite author-read book.

Do not increase the speed. Savour the performance.

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  • Eden
  • 20-11-2019

Beautiful

Wow! What an intense yet beautiful novel. The writing is magical as is the performance. Highly recommended!