On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong | Book Review

It pains me to say that for me personally, this book really missed the mark.

Going into reading, I had high expectations. The book seemed promising: it had a beautiful title, and was an own-voices Asian-American novel that had been nominated for the National Book Award in 2019. Quickly, I found that this book was not for me.

I am and always will be a sucker for beautiful prose, and On Earth… is chockfull of it. The problem is, with how fragmented the story was – flipping between the past, the present and different character perspectives – I often spent more time decoding the prose to figure out what was happening than enjoying the book itself. Every now and then, the odd scene would pop up that caught my interest, but besides that, I held little to no investment in the story, and ended up skim-reading parts, hoping to find the will to continue.

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