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Good Offices Paperback

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AuthorEvelio Rosero
PublisherNew Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication Date09-Mar-12
Book DescriptionTancredo, a young hunchback, observes and participates in the rites at the Catholic church where he lives under the care of Father Almida. Also in residence are the sexton Celeste Machado, his goddaughter Sabina Cruz, and three widows known collectively as the Lilias, who do the cooking and cleaning and provide charity meals for the local poor and needy. One Thursday, Father Almida and the sexton must rush off to meet the parish's principal benefactor, Don Justiniano. It will be the first time in forty years Father Almida has not said mass. Eventually they find a replacement: Father Matamoros, a drunkard with a beautiful voice whose sung mass is spellbinding to all. The Lilias prepare a sumptuous meal for Father Matamoros, who persuades them to drink with him. Over the course of the long night the women and Tancredo lose their inhibitions and confess their sins and stories to this strange priest, and in the process re- veal lives crippled by hypocrisy.
Editorial ReviewThe stringent satire, with nods to Victor Hugo, never eclipses the fragile dilemmas of the put-upon acolyte, while the novel hints at a wider web of sinister power and patronage that entails cocaine, corruption and, above all, fear. The translation is sublime. Moving from offbeat humour to soaring spiritual ecstasy, it has both pathos and punch.
Number of Pages144

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