The propulsive debut novel from one of the most innovative young fiction writers today – a searing and affecting depiction of what redemption can be for a person and for a country in the wake of trauma.
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‘A brilliant, feverishly imaginative novel.’ Sharlene Teo
‘Seriously impressive.’ Claire Adam
‘A vibrantly intelligent work.’ Sergio de la Pava
‘Superb.’ Kelly Link
Lina returns to Colombia after twenty years away. Sent to England after her mother’s death when she was eight, she’s searching for the person who can tell her what’s happened in the time that has passed. Matty – Lina’s childhood confidant, her best friend – now runs a refuge called The Anthill for the street kids of Medellín. But her long-anticipated reunion with him is struck by tension. Memory is fallible, and Linda discovers that everyone has a version of the past that is very, very different.
‘International in scope, profoundly human in its concerns, it feels like just the kind of novel we need in unsettling times.’
The Anthill foxes the boundaries between the political and personal in startling and tender ways. It’s a novel that laughs through a mouthful of blood, which scares and touches, dazzles and compels. Julianne Pachico is a truly gifted and distinctive storyteller who takes the reader from the haunting wilderness of childhood through to the stranded, guilt-wracked tumult of the present. Brilliant and feverishly imaginative, The Anthill is a must-read for anyone who has ever missed someone or felt out of place. (Anyone with a heart, basically.)
The Anthill is by turns profound and freewheeling, powerful and funny. Like a surreal, contorted game of hide and seek, with darkness at its centre, Julianne Pachico’s novel is seriously impressive.
An expertly constructed literary Russian doll. Every layer of revelation deepens a kind of existential dread over the horror people are capable of and the intentional human blindness necessary to sustain it all. Pachico’s achievement is the way this intimately personal story expands into the universal and timeless to puncture first world pretense. A vibrantly intelligent work.
As in all good ghost stories – and Pachico’s The Anthill is superb – the haunting operates like a kind of blacklight, showing us how loss and trauma, invisible under ordinary circumstances, reverberate nevertheless through the life of an individual, a family, a country.
Julianne Pachico’s brilliant and scary new novel sneaks up on you. Its whisperings grow slowly, surely more insistent, its phantoms pop out unpredictably from under beds and tables, its bevy of buried memories surge, recede, swell and roar, and the all of it harries the heart and unmoors the mind. At once a powerfully imagined reckoning with national trauma and one young woman’s confrontation with considerable privilege and terrible loss, The Anthill is fiercely original. International in scope, profoundly human in its concerns, it feels like just the kind of novel we need in unsettling times.
Written in prose that disrespects established boundaries to reveal a unique and courageous voice, Julianne Pachico’s The Anthill, is the story of two young people searching for identity and belonging. In doing so, and with the lightest of touches, Pachico lays bare the trauma of life in post-peace Columbia. A disturbing book that remains with the reader long after the last page.
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