Fiction/Non Fiction: Fiction
Themes: Family, loss, grief, immigration.
One sentence summary: Heartbreakingly beautiful.
Through a series of letters written to his mother, Little Dog opens up and tells her exactly who he is. Baring all and showing her how he has seen the world, he tells her stories from childhood up to present day; stories of love, loss and everything in between.
However, Little Dog’s mother cannot read. She is an immigrant in America from a war-torn Vietnam, struggling to find her way in her this new world. While the letters often address his mother as his audience, some go back before his birth as he recounts tales his grandmother told him about how his family came to be.
This is a book for the emotional among us, the ones that hold onto characters for a long time after we finish the book. Vuong’s writing is one of a kind and the type that will have you feeling everything with the characters along with them.
The letters are not in your typical letter format, but do address Little Dog’s Mother, similar to the way his family have told stories all of his life. This is very much a book that feels like the main character is speaking directly to the reader, eager to tell his story. And that’s exactly why it feels so personal and why I feel so strongly about these characters.
Lovers of The Mountains Sing will enjoy On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous too. We see similarities of families torn apart by war and trauma beyond their control and families that after everything they’ve been through, care so deeply for their own.
Would I read it again? Definitely. Just stunning.
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