Ocean Vuong‘s debut novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous became an instant New York Times bestseller when it was released last year, and now a film adaptation is in the works. A24, the indie production company/distributor behind films like Moonlight, Hereditary, Eighth Grade, The Lighthouse, and Uncut Gems, announced this week that they were already “busy working on the film adaptation” of the acclaimed novel.
The most recent episode of the A24 podcast (which I’d definitely recommend subscribing to, by the way) features a conversation between authors Bryan Washington, who wrote this year’s captivating novel Memorial, and Ocean Vuong, whose debut novel was longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction. We already knew that A24 was developing Memorial into a limited series for television, but during the introduction of the podcast episode, the studio announced “now seems like as good a time as any to announce that we’re also busy working on the film adaptation of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.”
Here is the book’s description from Amazon:
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.
There’s no word yet about who is writing or directing the film adaptation, but we’ll absolutely be keeping our eyes on this project as it moves through development.
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