The Ants - Cover

The Ants

(Les Figues Press, 2014)


The Ants is a study not of, but through, ants. In a dashing sequence of prose pieces, Sawako Nakayasu takes the human to the level of the ant, and the ant to the level of the human. Prima facie, The Ants is a catalogue of insect observations and observations of insects. But the exposé of insect life humbles and disrupts the myopia that is human life, where experience is seen in its most raw and animal form and human “nouveau-ambitious” and “free-thinking” lifestyles become estranged, uncovered, and humbled. Found in the soups of dumplings and remembered in childhood vignettes, these ants trail through what Nayayasu writes as the “industry of survival,” exploring interfaces of love, ambition, and strategy. The danger is not in sentiment, but rather, in a gash, a wall, an argument, an intention. Is it more lonely to be crushed into the core of a non-mechanical pencil, to be isolated in the safety of home, or to “find” “it” “all” at the very very last moment? The Ants is the distance, the break, the tenuous wilderness between exoskeleton and endoskeleton, and Nakayasu puts her finger on it, and it, and it.


Review in The Quarterly Conversation by Janice Lee

Microreview in The Boston Review by Jennifer Kronovet

Review in Small Press Book Review by Michelle Dove

Review in Trop by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Review in Publisher’s Weekly

Review in Connation Press by Julia Bouwsma

Review in by Patricia Contino