Picture of author.

Justin Torres

Author of We the Animals

4+ Works 1,563 Members 79 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Justin Torres at the 2012 National Book Festival By Slowking4 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21582169

Works by Justin Torres

We the Animals (2011) 1,237 copies
Blackouts (2023) 314 copies

Associated Works

It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art (2018) — Contributor — 74 copies
The Best American Essays 2022 (2022) — Contributor — 57 copies
Pathetic Literature (2022) — Contributor — 25 copies
From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction (2011) — Contributor — 11 copies


Common Knowledge



Sad and painful to read. Some early sections are captivating - particularly the prose describing the mother. The book loses coherence in the middle and I became uninterested in the writer's last few chapters. These chapters seem contrived to shock and I just felt irritated.The last couple of chapters were also choppy and at the end I just wanted to physically remove the book from my presence...
Bambean | 70 other reviews | May 20, 2024 |
Finished in Ocean Shores in evening during work conference.

A queer historical fiction, liked it better than I thought I would.

Juan on his deathbed attempts to pass on decades old 'homosexual' research that he may have lived.

The deathbed scenes held me rapt, the history less so.
kcshankd | 3 other reviews | Mar 31, 2024 |
Love the structure—short chapters that almost stand alone but also create an ongoing narrative. It’s structurally delightful, though the narrative is often bleak. It seems like there is a gap where the story takes a turn, everything changes very very fast. The end is scary and beautifully written and does no consoling at all—it’s terrific. But it feels like something is missing in the preceding chapters?
wordlikeabell | 70 other reviews | Mar 15, 2024 |
Clearly inspired by [b:Kiss of the Spider Woman|588242|Kiss of the Spider Woman|Manuel Puig|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1403179094l/588242._SY75_.jpg|765288] (1976) by Manuel Puig, I enjoyed this novel’s recreation of the tender, caring bond that develops between two rather different men in Puig’s novel as they pass the time in a small cell-like space (literally a cell in Puig, figuratively here) talking, imagining life through the lens of film, and through being their true selves countering a dominant ideology that pathologizes queerness.

Juan, an elder man on his deathbed, wants his young visitor to take up the work of recording queer history and identity begun in a lengthy old research report in his possession, which was co-opted and misused for their own purposes by straight male doctors decades ago. Reflecting this erasure, the volumes themselves are mostly blacked out and images of its pages are printed here in the style of creating found poetry, which is not usually something I have much interest in but it works quite well in this context. And as Juan fades into delirium near the end of the novel, reality is further erased until the arrival of the ultimate “blackout”, if I may.

There is not so much a plot though as a rich and complex characterization of these two men and the bond that was created between them over only eighteen days they shared being forced into a mental institution prior to the younger’s suicide attempt and subsequent departure, that then survived a decade of no contact, and which is now revived and developed after the unnamed narrator has tracked down the dying Juan in his small, dark room.
Juan was dying, but only in the light, and only in the body. In the dark, his voice filled the room, sharper and more alive than I.

Through the skillful dialogue that is most of the book, Torres shows these two men sharing their lives with each other and in their relationship demonstrating the love of neighbor that should be striven for even as we often come up short.

… (more)
lelandleslie | 3 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |



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