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Loteria – Mario Alberto Zambrano

I was drawn to this book by the cover as the lottery cards I’ve seen in Mexico are so intriguing.

In Loteria , Zambrano  has woven the story of one family’s dysfunction through the Loteria cards. Told through the eyes of the 11 year-old daughter, the story of their ruin is all the move harrowing. Sad as it is, the reader is compelled, by the format and the writing, to finish the novel.


In Lotería, the spellbinding literary debut by Mario Alberto Zambrano, a young girl tells the story of her family’s tragic demise using a deck of cards of the eponymous Latin American game of chance.

With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images—mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars—sparks a random memory.

Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.

Beautiful full-color images of lotería cards are featured throughout this intricate and haunting novel.

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