On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong

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 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.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous strongest asset is it’s writing. The prose crafted by Ocean Vuong is exilarating. It compells you to keep reading and makes you ache for more. There are so many sentences that are so purely beautiful, you stop for a while to just absorb what you read. It’s the type of book that doesn’t focus on plot and not even too much on characters, in a sense that I don’t consider this to be a character analysis in deep such as books like A Little Life. However, this book dissects a relationship between a mother and a son, in a complex, painful and truthful way. It’s so raw, and although it can be difficult to read because it may feel like punches in the face, it’s the type of pain that is just delightful.

Who will be lost in the story we tell ourselves? Who will be lost in ourselves? A story, after all, is a kind of swallowing. To open a mouth, in speech, is to leave only the bones, which remain untold.

In under three hundred pages, the author has managed to convey so much impact and power in his storytelling. This is not a book to be read quickly, at least it wasn’t for me. Each time I put it down felt like taking one huge breath of air, because I was so immersed in this world that I lost track of my own self. The sheer hability to say much, while writing little, is something that has always struck me as pure talent.

My favorite part was the first one. I felt like it was the most painful one, and also I think there were some amazing quotes in there, actually as a fact this whole book is full of them, so many quotes I could write up a whole review of them.

It as everything I hid from, eveything that made me want to be a sun, the only thing I knew had no shadow.

I loved the fact that this book is a letter, written from a boy to his mother, who cannot read by the way, and in that this letter is a release in itself, it’s so powerful. I also love how this isn’t a book about a single thing, it touches, and not lightly, on a myriad of themes and done in a masterful way. And I have to mention my undying love for this book’s title, I mean who comes up with that?

I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written story. You’re in for a treat. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a favorite, but writing this review just made me realize it is. This is a gorgeous story of survival, and i’m glad it exists.

“Sometimes, when I’m careless, I believe the wound is also the place where the skin reencounters itself, asking of each end, where have you been?”

“In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.”

“Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of it’s own disappearing.”

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