Book Review: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ is a memoir with blended fictional elements entwined by Ocean Vuong that was published in 2019.

I was hesitant to review this book as I felt it was a disservice to Vuong to offer my opinion on his life and the work he produced inspired by it. However, I wholeheartedly recommend reading it.

It is a short book which I ploughed through with ease and fell seamlessly into the flow of narrative and extended metaphors that were beautifully constructed. Vuong’s command of language is phenomenal and beautifully poetic. You feel as if you’re reflecting these private musings, that were written in confidence as if they’re secrets confessed to you and you alone. The understanding you gain about the relationships Vuong has in his life.

When Vuong speaks of Trevor it is so powerful, an understanding between the two, best friends and lovers, the way he speaks about him, especially with the book being addressed to his mother, who didn’t approve, brought me to near-tears. It was a gut wrenching story about communication, culture, love, family and a sense of self. I adored every minute of it. I cannot stress how evocative it was.

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