Mario Zambrano, who graduated from the Riggio Honors Program in 2011, has had his upcoming debut novel, Lotería, previewed on Library Journal's Fiction Previews list. Library Journal refers to the novel as "the big-news debut of [the] group."
It's not hard to see why there's excitement. The book is a carefully complected narrative that features an 11 year old protagonist, Luz Castillo, illustrate her life by using "lotería": the Mexican version of bingo.
On Lotería, acclaimed author Justin Torres remarks :
“LOTERIA is a taut, fraught, look at tragedy, its aftermath, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive. With suspense, dread, and always the possibility for redemption, we watch as Zambrano flips the cards of chance and fate.”
Josh Weil, author of The New Valley writes:
“In a bold, deeply-felt debut Mario Alberto Zambrano brings us tragedy made powerful through a small girl’s touching voice. Her great gift is the joy she brings to this sorrow-filled story, matched only by the joy we feel in getting to know her. Luz embraces us as fearlessly as she does life, as whole-heartedly as Zambrano does the story of her richly complex, fully felt family. These are people who hold on to each other so hard it hurts. And this moving novel will hug you too, every bit as tight.”
Lotería is now available to preorder online.
You can hear Zambrano reading from a selection of the novel below:
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before dedicating his time to writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, Holland, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from The New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow. Lotería is his first novel.