The Anthill is riskier and more ambitious than [Pachico's previous novel], but every bit as absorbing ... From the opening page, a sense of foreboding troubles Lina ... 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 ... Vivid and at times surreal, this assured novel cements Pachico’s reputation as a gifted writer to watch.
The tension between the residents of Pachico’s vibrant and tormented Medellín and the mission groups, professional volunteers, and poverty tourists is palpable and gets to the heart of one of the area’s primary dilemmas—how to build on a past which cannot be spoken and yet will not be erased. The insertion of a supernatural element in the novel is distracting, however, and too overt a metaphor for the paradoxes more skillfully and subtly asserted by Pachico’s pitch-perfect rendering of Medellín’s many voices as they seek to reconcile their pasts with their futures. A jarring book that thrives on its many contradictions.