Justin Torres

We The Animals

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


New York Times Bestseller  •  Amazon Best Books 2011   •  Los Angeles Times Bestseller  •  Time Out New York Best Books of 2011  •  San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller  •  Boston Globe Bestseller  •  NPR Bestseller  •  New York Daily News, Best Under-the-Radar Books 2011  •  Indie Bestseller  •  Esquire, The Best Book You’ll Read This Fall  •  New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice  •  Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection  •  A Huffington Post Novel of the Year  •  San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2011  •  Kirkus Best Fiction of 2011  •  Nylon Magazine Best Books of 2011   •  Flavorwire Best Debut Novels of 2011  •  NAACP Image Awards Nominee for Outstanding Literary Debut

“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

“We should all be grateful for Justin Torres, a brilliant, ferocious new voice.”
— Michael Cunningham

“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 eupho- ria of these three boys. It’s a knock to the head that will leave your mouth agape.”
— Benjamin Percy, Esquire

“One of the most memorable and resonant coming-of-age novels since The Catcher in the Rye.”
— Culturemob

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

“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

“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

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

“[A] spare, haunting story . . . of love, loss and the irreversible trauma that a single event can bring to a family.”
— New York Times

“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

“Torres has spilled onto the scene, big beating heart in hand . . . It feels like reading James Agee by lightning strike. Torres writes like this is the only book he has in him. I certainly hope that’s not the case.”
— Arkansas Times

“[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

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

“We the Animals marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in American Literature. In an intense coming-of-age story that brings to mind the early work of Jeffrey Eugenides and Sandra Cisneros, Torres’s concentrated prose goes down hot like strong liquor. His beautifully flawed characters worked their way into my heart on the very first page and have been there ever since.”
— Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

“Something to behold . . . ethereal and original.”
— Arizona Republic

“Stunning . . . A lyrical paean to boyhood and the bonds of family . . . A heartbreaking exploration of how much crueler betrayal feels when it comes at the hands of family.”
— Times Union (New York)

“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

“We the Animals is a gorgeous, deeply humane book. Every page sings, and every scene startles. I think we’ll all be reading Justin Torres for years to come.”
— Daniel Alarcon, author of Lost City Radio and War by Candlelight

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

“Wow! What a powerful piece of fiction . . . daring and funny and a little scary . . . This is the real deal.”
— Oregonian
“[Torres] is especially good at creating a sense of heightened or supercharged reality.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] slender debut novel that packs a hard punch.”
— Dallas News

“This searing debut novel ensures that Justin Torres is a name we’ll be reading for years to come.”
— Next Magazine

“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

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

“On the subject of boyhood, We the Animals is the best novel since Roddy Doyle grabbed the 1993 Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha . . . [Torres] offers pitch-perfect understanding in pitch-perfect prose, tapping powerful veins of sentiment without succumbing to sentimentality.”
— Times-Picayune

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

“A voice whose uniqueness, power and resonance are evident from the very first page . . . [Readers] will have little choice but to conclude that they are hearing something new, something strong and something very self-assured.”
— Washington Post

“Beautifully lyrical . . . Both poignant and joyous . . . Torres’ writing [is] so electric.”
— Salon

“Taut, elegant, lean and it delivers a knockout . . . Told in a series of scenes that burst open like exploding stars, full of violence and light . . . the brilliantly compressed novel reads as though Torres has been writing it his whole life . . . A kind of ode to the bond of brotherhood.”
— NPR, Weekend Edition

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

“In stark prose, Torres shows us how one family grapples with a dangerous and chaotic love for each other, as well as what it means to become a man.”
— O Magazine

“Aptly captures the swirling, joyous mess that is brotherhood . . . Fierce in its ability to evoke potent emotion with poetic language and veracious insight.”
— The Pilot (North Carolina

“[The novel’s] brevity masks an emotional impact that few stories of greater length ever manage.”
— American Statesman (Texas)

“Enveloping and fast-paced prose . . . An ultimately haunting and beautiful atmosphere, one like hearing in the distance the moan of a train whistle at midnight.”

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

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

“Intimate in its telling, We the Animals rings with truth.”
— AARP Viva

“Pitch-perfect . . . The tension that hovers beneath the sur- face of these stories vibrates electrically.”
— BookPage

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

“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 work beautiful to behold . . . A master of detail and haunting images.”
— Ploughshares Literary Magazine blog

“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

“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

“Torres is a writer to embrace from the start.”
— Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

“You applaud first novelist Torres’s genius ability to twist around and punch you in the gut . . . Highly recommended.”
— Library Journal

“We the Animals, can be described in one word—wow.”
— The Hispanic Reader

“So essential, so focused and concentrated, so taut and fiery tons 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

“Intriguing and beautifully written.”
— Publishers Weekly

“An exquisitely crafted debut novel — subtle, shimmering and emotionally devastating . . . Upon finishing, readers might be tempted to start again, not wanting to let it go.”
— Kirkus Reviews, starred“Luminescent . . . It’s [this] book, more than any other this year, that I found myself thrusting into people’s hands de- manding, Read this.”
— Band of Thebes

“Shows such mastery of crafting vibrant, visual, concise prose that it’s hard not to fall in love with and want to reread the novel as you find yourself reaching the last sentences.”
— Lambda Literary

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

“We the Animals is at its best when it exposes the fierce core of love that can slumber in the troubled heart of even the most damaged families. It’s also a declaration of the arrival of a significant new voice on the American literary scene.”
— bookreporter

“Torres mesmerizes with the surprising rhythms and word choice of a slam poet.”
— Cleveland Plain Dealer