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The Anthill
by Julianne Pachico




Overview -
Pachico's The Anthill is superb--KELLY LINK

A wildly original blend of social horror and razor sharp satire, The Anthill is a searing exploration of privilege, racism, and redemption in the Instagram age.

In the end, it's much easier to not look at the screaming feeling. To not examine it. Better to just keep on rushing on...

Lina has come home to the country of her childhood. Sent away from Colombia to England after her mother's death twenty years before, she's searching for the one person who can tell her about their shared past. She's never forgotten Matty - her childhood friend and protector who now runs The Anthill, a day care refuge for the street kids of Medell n. Lina begins volunteering there, but her reunion with Matty is not what she hoped for. She no longer recognizes Medellin, now rebranded as a tourist destination, nor the person Matty has become: a guarded man uninterested in reliving the past she thought they both cherished.

As Lina begins to confront her memories and the country's traumatic history, strange happenings start taking place at The Anthill: something is violently scratching at the inside of the closet door, the kids are drawing unsettling pictures, and there are mysterious sightings of a small, dirty boy with pointy teeth. Is this a vision of the boy Lina once knew, or something more sinister? Did she bring these disturbances with her? And what will her search for atonement cost Matty?

A visceral, hallucinatory ride by an author who has been called blunt, fresh, and unsentimental (The New York Times Book Review) and remarkably inventive (The Atlantic), The Anthill is a ghost story unlike any other, a meditation on healing--for both a person and a country--in the wake of horror.

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More About The Anthill by Julianne Pachico

 
 
 

Overview

Pachico's The Anthill is superb--KELLY LINK

A wildly original blend of social horror and razor sharp satire, The Anthill is a searing exploration of privilege, racism, and redemption in the Instagram age.

In the end, it's much easier to not look at the screaming feeling. To not examine it. Better to just keep on rushing on...

Lina has come home to the country of her childhood. Sent away from Colombia to England after her mother's death twenty years before, she's searching for the one person who can tell her about their shared past. She's never forgotten Matty - her childhood friend and protector who now runs The Anthill, a day care refuge for the street kids of Medell n. Lina begins volunteering there, but her reunion with Matty is not what she hoped for. She no longer recognizes Medellin, now rebranded as a tourist destination, nor the person Matty has become: a guarded man uninterested in reliving the past she thought they both cherished.

As Lina begins to confront her memories and the country's traumatic history, strange happenings start taking place at The Anthill: something is violently scratching at the inside of the closet door, the kids are drawing unsettling pictures, and there are mysterious sightings of a small, dirty boy with pointy teeth. Is this a vision of the boy Lina once knew, or something more sinister? Did she bring these disturbances with her? And what will her search for atonement cost Matty?

A visceral, hallucinatory ride by an author who has been called blunt, fresh, and unsentimental (The New York Times Book Review) and remarkably inventive (The Atlantic), The Anthill is a ghost story unlike any other, a meditation on healing--for both a person and a country--in the wake of horror.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385545891
  • ISBN-10: 0385545894
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish Date: May 2020
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Anthill

In her 2017 debut novel, The Lucky Ones, Colombian-born author Julianne Pachico ruminated on her home country throughout 30 years of civil war, when rebels and cartels rendered the country lawless. In her second novel, she updates her gaze to present-day Medellín. The Anthill is riskier and more ambitious than The Lucky Ones, but every bit as absorbing.

Lina is a 30-something doctoral student from Britain, daughter of a Colombian mother and English father. She has returned to Colombia after a long absence to volunteer at a day care center run by her childhood friend, Mattías. From the opening page, a sense of foreboding troubles Lina. Who is the stranger who greets her? What kind of a day care facility would be called the Anthill? Who are the other volunteers? Where do the children come from?

The answers unfold in due time, the tension steadily rising like the cable cars that whoosh uphill to connect downtown Medellín with poorer, higher neighborhoods. Medellín is itself a vivid character in the book, a metropolitan tourist destination of swinging nightclubs and placid poverty, a city that has turned Pablo Escobar’s private zoo into a theme park. As Lina struggles to distinguish herself beyond the designation of “the new volunteer,” she wrestles with the violent politics of the country she knew as a child and the threats within this new, almost peaceful iteration of the country.

Lina learns some of the truths of Colombia that Medellín tourist brochures never divulge. Mattías, leftist and anti-clerical, seems devoted to his work yet keeps his distance from Lina, in whose house he was raised. His attitudes suddenly shift midway; there are intimations of a feral child locked away behind Anthill doors. 

Vivid and at times surreal, this assured novel cements Pachico’s reputation as a gifted writer to watch.

 

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