Win the Loteria!
Published on Friday, August 16, 2013 - 10:30am
If I hadn't been drawn by the beauty of this book's cover, I would have missed out on a unique and daring read.
Mario Alberto Zambrano debuts with Loteria, an unfamiliar take for a novel. Zambrano's creative use of a deck of loteria cards - which can be best explained as Mexican Bingo - helps unfold the dark journey which has led the-11 year-old protagonist to her current situation as a ward of the state of Texas.
The text is written as vividly as the beautiful images of the loteria cards which are depicted at the beginning of each memory (chapter.) The plot line is another stroke of creative genius, with the book giving the illusion of what the final truth will be, but to put it simply, I was left shocked. I felt as though I needed someone else to read this book immediately so I could share my surprise and delight!
Without giving too much away, I will say the subject matter is a dark family drama, and if you don't understand a basic level of Spanish, you will miss out on the nuances of the book which make you relate to the character and the plot. These touches, from the way her thoughts are presented to the dialogue, immerse the reader in this generic, yet twisted world. It is easy to imagine so many of these events happening on a daily basis behind closed doors, kept secret. Ultimately these elements have lead Loteria to be my most unexpected and satisfying read of 2013.