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The Anthill

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"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 Medellín. 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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"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." - Claire Adam

"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." - Laird Hunt

"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." - Kelly Link

"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." - Sergio de la Pava

"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." - Ingrid Persaud

"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.)" - Sharlene Teo

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