The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

Photo courtesy of Penguin Press

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” tells the story of a Vietnamese American boy raised in the U.S. by his mother and grandmother, both of whom are still haunted by the Vietnam War. The novel is written as a letter of memories from the narrator, nicknamed “Little Dog,” to his illiterate mother, who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. The story is separated into non-chronological passages of the narrator’s thoughts, memories and family history as he struggles through different points of his life. The author draws readers in with beautifully crafted, visceral prose tackling themes of war, immigration, trauma and sexuality. With ornate metaphors and descriptions, Vuong weaves meaning and emotion into every sentence, leaving the reader thinking at every turn of the page. For readers who love a poetic, intricate style, this book’s balance of lyrical writing and moving messages will stay with them long after the cover is closed.

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