Tattered Cover and Denver Public Libraries welcomes Ocean Vuong on Tuesday June 1st at 5pm MT to celebrate the paperback release of his book, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. He will be in conversation with author, Scott McClanahan.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
"This beautiful novel is never not a poem, and there’s no page that feels to be anything other than the absolute truth, both for the character on the page and for you, the reader. The central relationship is between a boy and his mother, with the story framed entirely within a letter that he writes to her—a letter which she’ll never understand because she never learned to read. The tautness of the space between the two characters is too easy to strum, and always always just slightly off key in either direction. Deeply specific and also universal, this story makes it impossible not to feel at some point: “That’s me. That’s my mother.” Similarly, for anyone who’s ever hidden their own desire, the boy’s romantic relationship in this novel makes it impossible not to say: “That’s my silence. That’s my love and that’s my love’s suffering.” This book dumps rain into the cracked cement between identities, and then it invites you to watch the hundreds of less-visible fissures that connect every bit of sidewalk fill with water. It’s addiction and abuse, manual labor and immigration and language, matriarchy and femininity and calloused skin. It’s honestly perfect." — Afton Montgomery
Scott McClanahan is the writer of the Sarah Book, Crapalachia, and He Sent Darkness. He lives in Beckley, West Virginia.
Registration includes access to this live stream event the night of the event, before it is posted on Tattered Cover's YouTube Channel, two days after.
**Important Event Information**
-- This is a live stream event using Zoom Live Streamed to YouTube, tickets cost $5 to view the event. You may also purchase a paperback copy of On Earth We Were Briefly Gorgeous through Eventbrite as a ticket for this event.
-- Tickets are limited to one ticket per email address
-- Attendees will be sent a link to join the live stream at least 30 minutes prior of the event via email
-- Presentation begins at 5pm MT
-- The event will last about one hour but the official end time of this event is an estimate
-- Event registration/tickets are available online ONLY, through Eventbrite. Tickets will not be sold in-store or through our website.
-- If you purchased a book, they will be mailed via media mail after the event
** DISCLAIMER: Event details, signing rules and restrictions are subject to changes beyond our control, and often change up to and during the event. Thank you for your understanding.
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