Forty Under 40
BY Advocate Contributors
April 24 2012 1:56 AM ET
Justin Torres • 32
Author, We the Animals
Justin Torres unflinchingly describes growing up the youngest and smallest of three brothers and the son of a strict father in his new book, We the Animals. Torres’s first novel is already a critical success, with a mention in O, The Oprah Magazine and an NAACP image award nomination.
The story’s unnamed narrator is a queer boy “looking at his family from that perspective,” Torres says. He’s a peacekeeper, as Torres writes, “which sometimes meant nothing more than falling down to my knees and covering my head with my arms,” while his brothers swung away, “until they got tired, or bored, or remorseful.”
The protagonist’s mother knew even while pregnant with her first son that what grew inside her belly was a “heart ticking like a time bomb.” None of that messy view of family stops Torres and his partner from dreaming about starting their own, he says.