The Millions

Memory Can Be a Second Chance: Ocean Vuong’s ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’

“What happened happened–but it isn’t fixed in the ongoing story of our lives,” Jeanette Winterson wrote of regret, recollection, and lost love, “Memories can be tools for change. They don’t have to be weapons used against us or baggage that we drag around.”

Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong stakes his debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, on a similar premise: the hope that, in the writer’s own words, “Memory can be a second chance.”

Thoughtful and tender, this autobiographical novel is framed as a letter from a son, Little Dog, to his illiterate single mother, Rose. Across three expansive parts Little Dog reflects on his turbulent youth spent in Hartford, Connecticut, and hopes that the act of remembering family history through writing might heal longstanding wounds and bring parent and child closer together. Sketching a moving portrait of a fraught bond, Vuong meditates on the powers of storytelling and reckons with the legacy of collective trauma.

“Dear Ma,” Little Dog begins, “I am writing to reach you—even if each word I put

Вы читаете отрывок, зарегистрируйтесь, чтобы читать полное издание.

Другое от: The Millions

The Millions7 мин. чтения
Must-Read Poetry: March 2021
Our own Nick Ripatrazone takes a look at six new poetry titles from the likes of Adrienne Su, Dennis James Sweeney, and Karen Fish. The post Must-Read Poetry: March 2021 appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions6 мин. чтенияPsychology
Complicating Consent: The Millions Interviews Katherine Angel
I think a lot of the harm that's done in the world is done through men's denial of their vulnerability — and also women’s collusion with that denial. The post Complicating Consent: The Millions Interviews Katherine Angel appeared first on The Million
The Millions6 мин. чтения
February Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month)
The shortest month of the year brings no shortage of books including new titles from Jhumpa Lahiri, Leesa Cross-Smith, Patricia Lockwood, and Andromeda Romano-Lax. The post February Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month) appeared first o