Justin Torres

We The Animals

"A miracle in concentrated pages—you are going to read it again and again." — Dorothy Allison

“Torres makes an unforgettable impression. . . Visceral yet elegant prose.”
Entertainment Weekly, Shelf Life

 

“Fierce, well-crafted. . . . We the Animals is an enthralling novel. It may yet be unforgettable.”
Daily Beast

“A slim book can hold volumes. We the Animals is such a book.... I thought of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying . . . Torres builds a story that is burnished, complete. That takes talent, diligence and more than a little grace.”
Houston Chronicle

“A poetic slideshow. . . So compelling and so beautiful. . . it reads like a kind of shattering crescendo.”
—NBC Weekend Today

“Like Fitzgerald’s Nick Carraway... Torres’s sensitive and hyperobservant narrator, relat[es] this coming-of-age story in a spare and impressionistic style. . . I want more of Torres’s haunting, word-torn world.”
New York Times Book Review

“The kind of book that makes a career . . . Torres’s sentences are gymnastic, leaping and twirling. . . always justified by the ferocity and heartbreak and hunger and slap-happy euphoria of
these three boys. It’s a knock to the head that will leave your mouth agape.”
—Benjamin Percy, Esquire

‘We wanted more,’ begins Torres’ slim debut. By the end of this tightly wound coming-of-age tale . . . readers will, too.”
People

“I was also astonished at the sharp beauty of Torres’s debut novel. It hews as close to the bone of truth as any novel I’ve ever read, both visceral and affectingly raw.”
—Alexandra Styron, Wall Street Journal


“The imagistic power of We the Animals exists in inverse proportion to its slim 128 pages. Just try shaking off this novel.” —Elle

 

 

"A fiery ode to boyhood . . . A welterweight champ of a book."
NPR, Weekend Edition


“Surge[s] with an electric, emotional power the year’s big books couldn’t match.”
Time Out New York

"[It] shouts, beatboxes and flirts; it lulls only to shock awake; it haunts and creeps and surprises.... One of the most addicting debuts about the savage love of all our families. . . . “[We the Animals] shouts, beatboxes and flirts; it lulls only to shock awake; it haunts and creeps and surprises . . . [Torres] writes in a voice that combines urgency, brutality and huggable cuteness."
Forbes


"Urgent . . . like a living thing, to be what it mysteriously needs to be, to fulfill the promises it makes to itself . . . It made me want to read the whole thing again."
San Francisco Chronicle



"In language brilliant, poised and pure, We the Animals tells about family love as it is felt when it is frustrated or betrayed or made to stand in the place of too many other needed things, about how precious it becomes, and about the joy and dread of realizing that there really is no end to it."
—Marilynne Robinson

"Some books quicken your pulse. Some slow it. Some burn you inside and send you tearing off to find the author to see who made this thing that can so burn you and quicken you and slow you all at the same time. A miracle in concentrated pages, you are going to read it again and again."
—Dorothy Allison

"We the Animals is a dark jewel of a book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. It resembles no other book I’ve read. . . .We should all be grateful for Justin Torres, a brilliant, ferocious new voice." —Michael Cunningham

"We the Animals snatches the reader by the scruff of the heart, tight as teeth, and shakes back and forth—between the human and the animal, the housed and the feral, love and violence, mercy and wrath—and leaves him in the wilderness, ravished by its beauty."
—Paul Harding

“Only every so often . . . does something this well written come along . . . That such a young author writes so well in his debut novel seems miraculous.” —New York Journal of Books

“This is a book that defies categorization, for the content is a shape-shifting many-headed furious god of love . . . [It] leaves the reader with the singular wish to go back to the beginning.”
Huffington Post

So essential, so focused and concentrated, so taut and fiery and startling, like a cup of maple syrup made from ten gallons of sap, that everything else starts to sound loose and slack . . . For now, we have to settle for rereading the miniature magical universe Torres has created and hope to satisfy our appetite when he follows up this lightning strike of a debut with a second book.”
The Nervous Breakdown

“Filled with rich detail, tableau-like scenes, and true-to-life little boy adventures, We the Animals is a must-read novel. Torres’ evocative language grips the reader.”
Sacramento Book Review
“[A] slender debut novel that packs a hard punch.” —Dallas News
 

“A treasure chest of unforgettable images and haunting, tender moments.”
Granta.com

“If you love the smell of language and the taste of the perfect syllable, this book is for you.”
Flavorwire

“Well-crafted like a great martini, coming in smooth with a potent punch.”
The Brooklyn Rail

Extraordinary... Torres demonstrates a mastery of prose seldom encountered in first books. An exhilarating beginning.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“Gut-wrenching . . . Torres’ prose is sparse and exacting, and he knows his characters well.”
Mother Jones

“Torres had me hooked.”
—Iowa City Press Citizen

“Elegant and raw, vibrant and incomplete. Rarely has a writer developed the child’s-eye view with such intimate vulnerability and emphatic restraint.” —Bookslut

“[We the Animals] shouts, beatboxes and flirts; it lulls only to shock awake; it haunts and creeps and surprises . . . [Torres] writes in a voice that combines urgency, brutality and huggable cuteness.”
Forbes

“Memorable and vivid . . . It’s comparable to The House on Mango Street, and just as powerful.”
Dallas Morning News

"Torres is a literary wunderkind.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian online
“Spare and strong . . . Its rough beauty will linger on long after you turn the last page.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Voracity—material but also emotional—is what animates most of the book’s prose. . . Torres has done here what also good novelists who exploit memory do: he has surveyed his entire childhood and extracted its most pigmented impressions.”
Boston Globe

“An outsized wallop... Its images and tactile prose linger. . . What stays with me are the terrible beauty and life force in Torres’ primal tale.”
Newsday

“Torres’s wild account of a hardscrabble childhood reminds us that we are most alive when we are most hungry.”
Oxford American

“[Torres] is especially good at creating a sense of heightened or supercharged reality.”
San Francisco Chronicle


“Gut-wrenching . . . Torres’ prose is sparse and exacting, and he knows his characters well.”
Mother Jones

“Torres had me hooked.”
—Iowa City Press Citizen

“Elegant and raw, vibrant and incomplete. Rarely has a writer developed the child’s-eye view with such intimate vulnerability and emphatic restraint.” —Bookslut

“[We the Animals] shouts, beatboxes and flirts; it lulls only to shock awake; it haunts and creeps and surprises . . . [Torres] writes in a voice that combines urgency, brutality and huggable cuteness.”
Forbes

“Memorable and vivid . . . It’s comparable to The House on Mango Street, and just as powerful.”
Dallas Morning News

"Torres is a literary wunderkind.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian online
“Spare and strong . . . Its rough beauty will linger on long after you turn the last page.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Voracity—material but also emotional—is what animates most of the book’s prose. . . Torres has done here what also good novelists who exploit memory do: he has surveyed his entire childhood and extracted its most pigmented impressions.”
Boston Globe

“An outsized wallop... Its images and tactile prose linger. . . What stays with me are the terrible beauty and life force in Torres’ primal tale.”
Newsday

“Torres’s wild account of a hardscrabble childhood reminds us that we are most alive when we are most hungry.”
Oxford American

“[Torres] is especially good at creating a sense of heightened or supercharged reality.”
San Francisco Chronicle