Jeffrey Perkins's Reviews > We the Animals

We the Animals by Justin Torres
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Sep 12, 2011

it was amazing
Read in September, 2011

I finished reading the novel this afternoon on my back porch among an extended family of potted plants, looking out on their wild cousins.

It’s a short book and I read it slow. I read a chapter before a meal, a chapter on the bus going into the city, I read a chapter in the morning drinking my cup of coffee. I read it quietly and slowly and during the day.

I didn’t read it at night. I quickly understood that reading this book was the opposite of going to sleep. I knew I would want to do more with its energy newly inside me.

We the Animals made me want to stop and appreciate the complexity of living. To remember and savor the small details of a life and to write. It made me remember what writing can do and how reading an exceptional book can, at least temporarily, play with my habits and expectations.

The book is taut and concentrated, it’s clever and simple, and it brought back the dull ache of growing up when I only had a vague notion that life was larger than I could imagine in the small town of my childhood.

We the Animals is about the brothers I never had and therefore about the sisters I did. It’s an avalanche and a meditation. It’s about going on an adventure and how any adventure contains a constant fear and a constant amazement.

I admire the way Torres writes and found myself stopping to appreciate the subtle power of his images but I never lost the flow. It’s a novel that reads like poetry, paying attention to sound and rhythm, but it reads quick like a feast you don’t want to end.

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Reading Progress

02/27/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ely (new) - added it

Ely Great review! :)

Michele Harrod Love this review - only just started this book, and did exactly the same thing, savoured the few chapters I have read so far, one at a time, piece by piece.

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