We the Animals

By Justin Torres
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780547576725, 128pp.)

Publication Date: August 2011

List Price: $18.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the September 2011 Indie Next List
“This powerful, lyrical little book is unlike any I've recently read. Told from the point of view of the youngest of three brothers, this unique coming-of-age story takes an intimate look at a Brooklyn family bound together by a dangerous love and constantly on the brink of a furious unravel. The narrator's magical, childlike view of the world makes the tense scenes even more vivid, more real, and more unforgettable. We the Animals is an enchanting, haunting novel.”
-- Shuchi Saraswat, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA


Description
An exquisite, blistering debut novel Three brothers tear their way through childhood smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn he's Puerto Rican, she's white and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful. Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.



About the Author
JUSTIN TORRES is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He was the recipient of a Rolon Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. His work has appeared in "The New Yorker", "Harper's", "Granta, Tin House, "and "Glimmer Train". Among many other things, he has worked as a farmhand, a dog walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller; he is now a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.


NPR
Saturday, Sep 3, 2011

Justin Torres' debut novel is a welterweight champ of a book. It tells the story of three brothers growing up in a family that is both fiercely loyal and violently chaotic. Together, they endure their parents, their poverty and, of course, each other. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. How does the opening chapter, “We Wanted More,” serve to introduce the rest of the novel? What do you learn about the narrator and his brothers? 

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