On Earth We’re Briefly GorgeousOcean Vuong
This novel tells the story of Little Dog, the son of Vietnamese immigrant parents in the US. This is done in the form of a letter addressed to his illiterate mother. Dear Ma, I am writing to reach you even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are. The writing is a mix of a shared past with his traumatised mother and a schizophrenic grandmother as well as his own thoughts and feelings. He is lonely and discriminated against because of the colour of his skin. He finds a friend in Trevor and growing up they discover their teenage sexual love for each other. The letter to his mother is at the same time a search for his own identity. This debut novel contains autobiographical elements and is written in a precise, poetic style about the strong will power of a man who has to overcome many difficulties.