The Lucky Ones: Book summary and reviews of The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico

The Lucky Ones

by Julianne Pachico

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico X
The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2017
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A literary jigsaw puzzle of a debut novel set in Colombia during the peak of its decades-long conflict, and in New York City.

While her parents are away, a teenager finds herself home alone, with the household staff mysteriously gone, no phone connection, and news of an insurgency on the radio - and then she hears a knock at the door. Her teacher, who has been kidnapped by guerrillas, recites Shakespeare in the jungle to a class of sticks, leaves, and stones while his captors watch his every move. Another classmate, who has fled Colombia for the clubs of New York, is unable to forget the life she left behind without the help of the little bags of powder she carries with her. Taking place over two decades, The Lucky Ones presents us with a world in which perpetrators are indistinguishable from saviors, the truth is elusive, and loved ones can disappear without a trace.

A prismatic tale of a group of characters who emerge and recede throughout the novel and touch one another's lives in ways even they cannot comprehend, The Lucky Ones captures the intensity of life in Colombia as paramilitaries, guerrillas, and drug traffickers tear the country apart. Combining vivid descriptions of life under siege with a hallucinatory feel that befits its violent world, The Lucky Ones introduces a truly original and exciting new voice in fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Unsettling and pulsing with life; a brilliantly surreal portrait of life amid destabilizing violence." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Pachico's history-bound debut novel is a carefully yet fiercely composed collage of voices that bears witness to the executions, forced disappearances, and other atrocities that took place in Colombia from 1993 to 2013 during the country's violent civil war. The book provides a searing glimpse into the conflict through 11 interconnected short stories - each focusing on a different aspect of the struggle." - Publishers Weekly

"By using a cross spectrum of various character types from different walks of life - rebels, teachers, adolescent girls, parents - Pachico, raised in Colombia and now living in the United Kingdom, re-creates this recently violent period of Colombian history, but her debut novel is a disjointed kaleidoscope that fails in integrating all the various components." - Library Journal

"Julianne Pachico's tough and stunning novel set in both the Colombian and New York drug jungles kept this reader up all night and made her double-check that her front door was locked tight." - Lily Tuck, National Book Award–winning author of The News from Paraguay and The Double Life of Liliane

"Moving effortlessly between the surreal and the real, sometimes in the space of a single sentence, Pachico delivers one of the most original and mesmerizing debuts I've read in years." - Marisa Silver, New York Times bestselling author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin

"Every episode of The Lucky Ones enlivens and unsettles in its own way. Their cumulative power derives from the way they expose the fragility of any kind of security, and the interconnectedness of lives across gulfs of time and society. It's a riveting work of fiction." - James Scudamore, award-winning author of Heliopolis and The Amnesia Clinic

"The volatile, concentrated world of The Lucky Ones immediately surrounds the reader. We are compelled to follow Julianne Pachico deep into the fears, fantasies, and denials of her characters, whose susceptibilities we must recognize as our own." - Lavinia Greenlaw, author of A Double Sorrow

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Author Information

Julianne Pachico

Julianne Pachico grew up in Cali, Colombia, and lived there until she was eighteen. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in England. Her story "Honey Bunny" appeared in The New Yorker, and two of her stories have been anthologized in Best British Short Stories 2015.

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