Thirteen is My Lucky Number
A nine-year-old girl describes her life in a village in the hilly region between the cantons of Berne and Lucerne in the late 1950s. Amidst abject poverty and harsh rustic customs, she stands up against injustice and the constraints of the adult world.
A deeply moving and realistic story from the mountains - its humour and sensitivity will remain with the reader long after they have put down this book. Life is hard and severe in the Entlebuch region on the River Napf. Children's place in the hierarchy is directly under the livestock. Through a combination of defiant behaviour and escaping into a fantasy world, Lilly does her best to evade the reach of her mother and older siblings. She and her friends daydream about climbing down into the nearby gorge, the legendary Änziloch, to prove their courage and independence. However, the descent is forbidden, and the narrow-minded priest makes sure that the children's fear of ghosts in the gorge's depths never abates by spreading horror stories that have been passed on by word of mouth over the generations around the village. Lilly does have one ally: her taciturn and weak father, who teaches her never to give up, although inadvertently she nearly makes him lose his inheritance.
This novel by Alice Schmid, written with great passion for detail, is a forceful debut reminiscent of the great Swiss novelist Jeremias Gotthelf - moving, full of angst, and extremely believable.