WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

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Mario Alberto Zambrano: "Loteria: A Novel"

Loteria is the Spanish word for lottery. It's also the name of a popular game in Mexico, similar to bingo. Loteria uses a deck of cards with colorful images. Each player has a board with a different set of pictures, and instead of calling out numbers on a ping pong ball, the dealer sings out a riddle for each picture. Mario Alberto Zambrano grew playing Loteria with his family in Houston. After a 17-year career as an international ballet dancer, he turned to the cards to help him write a novel about a Mexican-American girl trying to understand her place in the world. Zambrano talks with Diane about why he switched careers and the inspiration for his writing.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from "Loteria: A Novel" by Mario Alberto Zambrano. Copyright © 2013 Mario Alberto Zambrano. With permission of Harper Publishing.

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