Mario Alberto Zambrano has written a beautiful and tragic novel in which a young girl uses the images on Lotería cards to tell her story.
I’m not familiar with the game, so had to look it up. Lotería is a traditional Mexican game that is similar to bingo. Instead of having balls with numbers and letters on them, there are cards – 54 illustrated cards with images, a name and a number.
Each chapter of this books starts with the image from one of the cards. The 11 year old protagonist then recalls a memory that ties into that card. By the time she gets to the 54th card, we understand her personal struggles and hope for the future. The cards add cultural context to her personal experiences.
This novel is unique and beautiful.
Lotería: A Novel
by Mario Alberto Zambrano
Pub. date 7/2/13
Synopsis: “Prepare to be enthralled by this lyrical, achingly human debut novel about a young girl’s remarkable resilience in the face of loss. Struggling to cope as her family falls apart, eleven-year-old Luz María Castillo retreats into her beloved set of Lotería cards—a Mexican game featuring riddles and vibrant images. Each card represents a different memory, and as Luz shuffles through the deck, she weaves her recollections into a compelling story of love, loyalty, tragedy, and hope.”
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