I just read an awesome book!
Beautiful, haunting, titillating, tantalizing – all perfect descriptors for ‘Loteria.’ Using her knowledge of Latin American history, as well as modern curiosities and phenomena, Pelayo brings classic fairie tales and folklore into present day in a way that is satisfying while leaving the reader desiring more. Most of the pieces (54 of them, each written to correspond to a card in the Loteria deck) can be classified as short fiction of the horror and fantasy type, but many of them defy categorization. One story will make readers gasp, while the other will leave them chuckling darkly. As a curator and propagator of Hispanic and Latin American folklore, Pelayo is unmatched.
Personally, I love this collection and am thankful for the approach of Halloween, when I will sit around a campfire with friends and family and read a few of the scarier works – though it will be difficult to choose between them, with subjects ranging from child-eating monsters, murderous socialites, demon-possessed bookworms, guardians of the supernatural, and entire towns living in an alternate reality where the most frightening creature in existence is the kid next door.
This collection is so chock-full of creepy goodness, I can’t wait for Pelayo’s next literary offering. She was even thoughtful enough to add an appendix explaining where she got her inspiration, so if you want to read more about La Llorona, El Panteon de Belen, or the fascinating tlahuelpuchi (a vampiric creature that seems to be unique to Mexico), you can look it up on google and spend even more nights hiding under your covers from El Sombrerón, the bogeyman of Guatemala.