A Village Wins the Lottery

One of my favorite things as a reader is to see a short, newsy story reported in the newspaper turn into a nice, in-depth magazine feature a year or so later (I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I do outside of this blog is work at Longreads).

That’s what GQ did with this story from early 2012 about a village of poor farmers in Spain who all won the lottery (well, all the villagers but one, as you will read from the story). You hear about people winning the lottery all the time, but rarely stories about entire villages:

Another tarnishment in the village: This shantytown of desperation has grown up and permanently clings to the perimeter of the gold mountain. Money. Magic. Stuff. The outside world wants what the villagers have. The citizens of Sodeto tear the noticias from the community bulletin board, pinned there by Bang & Olufsen, BMW, John Deere. They tear down Jacuzzis and Caribbean cruises. And the next day more appear.

Luck sets loose the vultures, too. The journalists and salesmen go door-to-door, los buitres circling in search of a carcass, and the once inviting village shuts more of itself off with each passing day. The curtains are drawn, the shutters are closed with suspicion.

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