It’s a hybrid of “ahhh” and “awww” which can only be summoned by a satisfying ending to a long story.
I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience of “We Are the Ants”. The angst, sarcasm, and layers of finding answers to the meaning of life is 450 pages of worth of reading. I also love the fact that despite needing to put down the book for work and other side reads (eherm, fanfic), it’s so easy to go back to Calypso and Henry’s head.
There’s a lot of endearing elements in this very angsty story which is already plus points for me. Take Henry’s family for example.
Henry’s family is the image of a home with so many holes and cracks that there’s always the possibility of it collapsing, but it endures as much as it can.
He describes his brother Charlie as a worthless human being incapable of success or ever providing for his own family, but there were parts of the book that tells us that he loves his brother all the same. Charlie equally loves Henry the way he knows how. It’s physically painful at times, but we instantly know he isn’t as shitty as Henry describes him to be.
It’s very rare for me to tear up in reading, but when Henry’s mom finally was done drowning in her family’s misery, I celebrated with tears of joy. She just had so much on her plate: her depressed son, a soon-to-be father of a college drop-out first son, a missing husband, and a senile mother. She had forgotten to dream to survive reality.
Nana was probably as adorable to the readers as she was to Henry. There’s just something so heartbreaking and endearing about a person who loses memories because memories are like that: you can remember it fondly, but never live it again. She was the shaky pillar of her family, and I think Henry at a time considered pushing the button just for his grandmother.
I didn’t fall in love with Diego as much as my friend who lend me the book, but he was important in the story. His presence never pushed Henry to do something he doesn’t want to like Audrey (but she’s a great friend), but his place in Henry’s life is to make him reflect on how he perceive himself; that even if he feels he is not important to the universe, for one person–Diego–he is the universe, he is important.
And that’s worth pushing the button.
All in all, I think my Goodreads review sums up my appreciation to this book:
Whether the sluggers were a state of mind or a reality, this book asks a fundamental question: when shitfuck of everything explodes to your face reducing you to a minuscule being not worthy of the world and it’s mysteries, albeit misery, will you still fight for the chance at happiness again?
Angst is probably a guilty pleasure of a read for me, so Henry’s internal monologues kept me good company. Sometimes I wanted to save him, other times I just wanted to be on the same slab with the sluggers with him.
The dysfunctional family element is always the oasis in a desert; that the drought, heat, and vastness of the same plain planes of rough sand under our feet, the thirst for water, for salvation, exist. You just have to trudge on to find it.
“The universe might forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.”
In terms of writing style, I really appreciate Shaun David Hutchinson. His descriptions are on-point, metaphors and references beautiful.
The last novels I quoted so much were “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” and “Call Me By Your Name”.
Too bad I had to return the book, so I eventually had to remove all those tabs after I saved my favorite lines.
Because of this book, I think I’m going to read as much Shaun David Hatchinson from now on. I quite regret not buying my own copy of this book before. No wonder it called me so many times. Well, I’m sure I can do something about that in the future.
“We Are the Ants” – Shaun David Hatchinson (novel) – 5/5 stars