In Mario Alberto Zambrano's acclaimed literary debut, a Mexican-American girl uses the game of Lotería to reveal her memories, which add up to a heart-wrenching tale of violence, love and a broken family" (Los Angeles Times)--now available as a limited Olive Edition from Harper Perennial.
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, the young girl retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards--a Mexican version of bingo featuring bright, colorful images.
Neither the social worker assigned to her case nor her Aunt Tencha, who desperately pleads for her niece's release, can cajole Luz to speak. The young girl's only confidant is her journal. Within its pages, Luz addresses an invisible higher power, sharing her secrets and the story of her family's tragic demise--and the terrifying night that ripped them apart forever.
Using the lotería cards as her muse, Luz picks one card from the deck with each shuffle. 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, including the violence inflicted against her sister, the disappearance of her mother, her father's arrest. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.
A surprising, spellbinding tale richly imaginative and atmospheric, Loteria is an exquisite debut novel from an outstanding new voice in fiction.