Author : Justin Torres ISBN : 0547576722 Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

We the Animals:A Novel is a fine piece of art by the first-time novelist Justin Torres who in this book simulates an unyielding world, a suffocating narrow lane marked by the foul scents of profanity, barbarousness, boredom, and domestic mayhem. Yet, it seamlessly projects the eternal bond of unconditional love that keeps the family intact despite the intrusion of haunting shadows in their lives. In less than 150 pages, the author puts forth an anchoring tale of the coming of age of three raucous siblings living with their parents in the claiming webs of Brooklyn.

The story is narrated by the youngest son, holding a united perspective of three children, whose parents are struggling to raise them in the upstate of New York. Their father is Puerto Rican and the mother white, who give birth to their first child when they were 16 and 14 years of age respectively. The story starts with the youngest son's seventh birthday and slowly revolves around the family's tale of tearing through the hostile environment that surrounds them with instinctual emotions of affection and aggression, while the boys quickly grow to their adolescent stages. The family's inter-cultural status makes it hard for them to mingle with the society bordering them.

As they grow in age, they develop an undesirable rivalry with their father, allowing darker forces to penetrate their interface, thus subjecting themselves to intensified barbaric impulses. The essence of the novel is the one-of-a-kind inter-relationship between the family members that helps the weakened bond survive throughout the story. Amidst the surface tensions of loathness and misery, the family remains sewn together as one entity, portraying the interconnectedness and a sense of belonging for all.

Survival of the human race can be closely related to the animals' way of living, due to the excessive presence of surface disturbances that brings into light their inability to grasp the power of their conscience, which results in the collective ignorance of the conscience amongst the deficient or rather diseased congregation. However, despite the prevalence of pain, suffering, schism, and apathy on the perimeter of this plane of existence, one is sure or rather bound to experience the unity that is found in abundance in the collective brotherhood.

The world is rich with objects that form the expression of the Supreme Being, emitting radiant, yet non-luminescent rays of the divine that brings all entities together to breathe in harmony and perspire for each other. We the Animals:A Novel is such an artifact which makes the readers see beyond duality and witness the insignia of truth, love.

The author takes you for a short journey into domestic dysfunction resulting in violence and misery, the traces of lyricism found in the book doing its best to keep the readers deeply engaged. The book is certainly an incredible patchwork of crude love, bearing signs of self-destruction and carnivorousness; but it will make you realize that amidst the human disintegration of us into me and them, one can experience the call of the yawning sun within, which speaks of nothing but the wholeness of the soul.

Nhut Pham

Nhut Pham

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