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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

We the Animals

We the Animals - Justin Torres At a spare 125 pages, this novella tells the story of three boys growing up in rural New York. Their is father a Puerto Rican who is hard and sometimes cruel to both the boys and their mother. Their mother who was only a child herself when she gave birth to each of the, is desperately lonely and can only barely get through each day. In this environment the boys are left to run wild and essentially raise themselves. They keep apart from the locals, keenly sensing that they are different, a pack of animals unto themselves. And though they fight and tear each other down at will, they also sense that the youngest is himself, within their pack also has a separate identity and so they protect him.

The story is told in the voice of this youngest brother, and as it nears the end you think you know where it's going, but you're probably wrong. It didn't end at all as I expected, going a completely different direction. Prior to this shift, I liked the book, and while I don't have a problem with how it ended, the change of direction felt very abrupt and as a result affected my final feelings regarding the story. The author is clearly gifted. I felt that he captured the wildness of boys quite well, and though his words were sparse and blunt, almost like the boys themselves, he drew a very clear picture of who they were and their environment. I often find shorter books like this one hard to hold onto and lacking a certain something, but this one felt very complete and will definitely stick with me.