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Community Book Discussion: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center present our July 2020 Community Discussion, featuring On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, a novel by Ocean Vuong. The New York Times bestselling novel is a finalist for a 2020 Lambda Literary Award and was Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction.

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.

Community book discussions at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center are facilitated by Mary Foltz and are sponsored by Lehigh University’s Southside Initiative and Humanities Center.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, or audiobook and can be purchased here, with a percentage of the purchase automatically donated to Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. Due to COVID-19 and in an effort to keep the community connected, we are extending the series through the summer months, however, we don’t have funds to provide free copies of the book for participants. If you cannot afford to purchase a book and would like to participate, email

This will likely be a virtual event. email to sign up in advance so you will receive the information to participate virtually.

The event is finished.

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