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ISBN 978-0-9567359-3-5
First published January 2012; 158 pp
paperback with endpapers; 198 x 129 mm
£8.99
click here to read a pdf excerpt.
The Slovenian writer and film-maker Miha Mazzini, born in 1961, is the author of twenty-three books. The Cartier Project (US edition, 2004) was ex-Yugoslavia’s all-time bestselling novel and was made into a feature film. Guarding Hanna (US edition, 2002) was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2004. In 2011 the first of his stories to be published in the US won a Pushcart Prize.
 
Miha Mazzini  The German Lottery
 

Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prize 2014

She finally managed to slip the line on the hook and rescue the washing.
   We were facing each other, completely soaked.
   ‘Thank you!’
   I nodded. ‘Comrade, a postman is always ready to help.’
   ‘That’s nice to hear.
   I straightened my uniform and put the bag over my shoulder.
   ‘Do you come round in the evenings too?’

A young postman in 1950s Yugoslavia delivers a registered letter to a woman who is hanging out her washing . . . Soon he is involved in a lottery scheme devised by the woman’s husband, who has been spending some time in prison – a scheme, he is persuaded, that will bring wealth and happiness to the town’s poorest and most deserving citizens.

How did he get it so wrong? As the narrator recalls for his grandchildren his coming-of-age, Miha Mazzini constructs a political fable that is also a satire on youthful idealism, greed, and the coincidence between our beliefs and what we want to believe.

‘This is a wonderful central-European novel; slightly bizarre, definitely quirky. Mazzini has recreated an all too believable picture of daily life in Communist Yugoslavia offering security to those who obey the rules but also imposing limitations arising from closed borders and an oppressive government. The little people find a place in the red-tape and bureaucracy of the system, but anyone with a spark of creativity chafes under the bonds that limit their freedom and opportunities. In The German Lottery we see the little man, Toni, transformed and ultimately triumphing over his circumstances. The book is described as a “political fable” but I think it works as a timeless story of the loss of an immature innocence and the vulnerability of even the most honest to the lure of easy money, particularly when it is dressed up as something which benefits one’s fellow citizens.’
     – The Common Reader