On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

You will need to take this slowly, read again, ponder. The intense lyricism of the animal-related imagery, with wave-like repetition and crescendo, sets your mind off into timeless drifts. Perhaps the kind of drift that a young Vietnamese refugee descendant would use as a defence against racist and homophobic attack and the multi-faceted pain and loss of drug abuse.

Extract

And yet, even here, writing you, the physical fact of your body resists my moving it. Even in these sentences, I place my hands on your back and see how dark they are as they lie against the unchangeable white backdrop of your skin. Even now, I see the folds of your waist and hips as I knead out the tensions, the small bones along your spine, a row of ellipses no silence translates. Even after all these years, the contrast between our skin surprises me- the way a blank page does when my hand, gripping a pen, begins to move through its spatial field, trying to act upon its life without marring it. But by writing, I mar it. I change, embellish, and preserve you all at once.

Parallels
  • Never Far From Nowhere by Andrea Levy
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • The Infinite Plan by Isabelle Allende

Books with similar mood

Woman of the Ashes

Mia Couto

The House of Shattered Wings

Aliette de Bodard

As Though She Were Sleeping

Elias Khoury

Blonde

Joyce Oates

Sunset Oasis

Bahaa Taher

Where I Left My Soul

Jerome Ferrari

White is for Witching

Helen Oyeyemi

Black Juice

Margo Lanagan

A Golden Age

Tahmima Anam

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

Nowhere People

Paulo Scott

The Fall of the Stone City

Ismail Kadare

Home Fires

Elizabeth Day

Love in Exile

Bahaa Taher

House of Stone

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Endgame

Ahmet Altan

Pelt

Sarah Jackson

Soul

Andrey Platonov

The Shell Collector

Anthony Doerr

Such Small Hands

Andrés Barba

The Well of Trapped Words

Sema Kaygusuz

I'm OK, I'm Pig

Kim Hyesoon

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Richard Flanagan

A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies

John Murray

Confession of a Murderer Told in One Night

Joseph Roth

Notes for a War Story

Gipi &nbsp

Thus Bad Begins

Javier Marías

Europe in Autumn

Dave Hutchinson

South of Centre

Andrea Carter

The Story of You

Julie Myerson

Under the Frangipani

Mia Couto

The Dream of Scipio

Iain Pears

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

Pigtopia

Kitty Fitzgerald

Afterlife

Sean O'Brien

Melmoth

Sarah Perry

The Synapse Sequence

Daniel Godfrey

Absolution

Patrick Flanery

Swimming Home

Deborah Levy

The Man Who Saw Everything

Deborah Levy

Land of No Rain

Amjad Nasser

The Jump Artist

Austin Ratner

The Art of Being Dead

Stephen Clayton

Psalm 119

Heather McRobie

The Moon Opera

Bi Feiyu

The Reverse Side of Life

Lee Seung-U

The Lost Souls' Reunion

Suzanne Power

Clara

Janice Galloway

The Friends of Meager Fortune

David Adams Richards