On an episode of The A24 Podcast, an indie film and TV company announced that they would make a theatrical version of Ocean Vuong’s debut novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. The novel is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Little Dog is in his late 20s; the letter revealed a family past that started before he was born, a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam.
It serves as a doorway into areas of his childhood that his mother had never learned, all of which contributed to an unforgettable discovery. At once, a witness to the tumultuous and unmistakable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a painfully frank examination of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions fundamental to our American moment, embroiled as we are in addiction, crime, and trauma, but underpinned by kindness and tenderness. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the strength of sharing one’s own story as it is about eradicating the silence of being able to be heard.
Vuong writes of people trapped in the middle of disparate cultures and wonders if we can heal and save one another without forsaking who we are inside.
The novel was published on June 4, 2019, and ranked No. 6 on the New York Times bestseller list and the top 10 books of 2019 from the Washington Post. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous represents Vuong’s own life.