Set during the bloody height of the Colombian conflict and spanning more than two decades, Pachico’s unforgettable whirlwind of a debut centers around the intersecting lives of a group of wealthy schoolgirls as well as the parents, teachers, and housekeepers who move in their orbit.
It’s 2003, and Stephanie Lansky’s parents have taken off for the holiday weekend to attend a lavish party in the mountains of Cali, leaving 17-year-old Stephanie—she herself has declined the invitation—under the care of their beloved housekeeper. But one day in, and Stephanie finds the housekeeper gone, the phone lines dead, and a man with a thickly scarred face buzzing ceaselessly at the door. Now it’s 2008, and Stephanie’s former eighth-grade teacher, held captive in the Colombian jungle, spends his days teaching the finer points of Hamlet to a class of leaves and sticks, parasites burrowing into his arms. In Cali, a class of third graders dutifully writes condolence cards to the parents of a classmate, blown up over the mountains. In New York City, a Colombian expat has reinvented herself as an American fashion student, dealing drugs to Williamsburg hipsters and Upper West Side college boys, each tiny bag of powder carrying a remnant of the past she can’t seem to escape. A little girl grows up with a pet lion in a house so opulent there’s an indoor fishpond; a young man writes articles about the links between the government and the death squadrons and has his fingers axed off by masked men with machetes. Taken alone—and some have been published as such—the chapters work as complete short stories, full worlds as vibrant and jarring as fever dreams. But together, they form something much larger, revealing a complicated and morally ambiguous web of interconnecting lives.
Unsettling and pulsing with life; a brilliantly surreal portrait of life amid destabilizing violence.