The German Lottery by Miha Mazzini
Translator – ,Urska Zupanec
Source – review copy via his agent
Orginal title Nemška loterija
Well I was happy to get an email from the US agent of Miha ,whom I had mentioned in a post about literature from Slovenia ,I had also not known I had read a short story from him that was the first translated story to be featured in the Fiction desk collection of stories .Miha Mazzini is a slovenian writer and filmmaker ,his website tells me he has written 27 books all of which have at some point been translated into other languages ,he has written two award-winning screenplays and also made five films to name a few things more info at his website here .
“Good day ,comrade .Are you Zora Klemenc ?”
“A registered letter .Can you prove your indentity ?”
“Gladly comrade postman ,just wait a minute ”
“What pride I took in saying those words ! A profession dosen’t only need a uniform ,it needs its own language that sounds strange to the uninitiated ,new words that knit us into a community .
Toni first meets Zora and the letter what is that about ?
The German lottery is set in 1950’s ,but has a feel of a story that could have only be written after the fall of the iron curtain we join Toni a young post man who is drawn into a world of the German lottery after he deliver a package to a women ,the scheme run by the women’s husband ,also he gets the locals to play the German lottery and thus make some money ,giving them hope and a little wealth to the poorest of the locals ,at first Toni thinks he is doing the world of good .But all is not as it first seems and then things fall apart ,but he has also fallen in love which adds to the complications around the story .
Pass me a handkerchief , please
would the magic chain still work ?
Well sure .Everything built on greed is timeless .
I’ll tell you tomorrow …..
the closing lines at a much later time post communism greed is still there .
Miha has pulled of something great in this book using the past to reflect the present .Greed is the driving force in this book as the locals see what a glimpse of the west can bring forth through the winnings they are seeing .But there is more to this it isn’t as it seems and poor old Toni are the hero in this book is a bit naive and is drawn into a dark world of someone making more money than he imagine from the poorest people around him .This reflects a lot of the modern world ,I read an interview in translation with Miha where he said it was meant to reflect what has happened in Slovenia since communism fell ,I did say on twitter the other day talking about this book the other day it was a dark post communist satire ,but then didn’t follow up why and this is the reason reflect how one small village is driven crazy by greed now reflects the wider world of post communist europe .So thanks to his agent for sending it as they said it is one that seemed to have fallen between the holes in the reviewing world This is part of the reason I love my blog and the ability to bring books like this to you my readers so you can get the chance to break the normal cycle of what your told to read and find something different !!
What gems have you discovered like this one by chance or through a kind person connected to the writer ?