Good Offices

Evelio Rosero (Author) Anne McLean (Translator)
& 1 more


Tancredo, 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.

Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
September 28, 2011
4.9 X 0.5 X 6.9 inches | 0.3 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Evelio Rosero, born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1958, is the author of several books of fiction--novels and short stories--plays, and poetry. For his body of work he was awarded Colombia's National Literature Prize by the Ministry of Culture. The Armies won the prestigious Tusquets International Prize and has been longlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Anne McLean has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize twice, as well as the Premio Valle Incla´n. She has translated the works of Javier Cercas, Julio Cortázar, Carmen Martín Gaite, Ignacio Padilla, and Evelio Rosero.
Anna Milsom, b. 1951, is an acclaimed experimental artist.


The 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.
Rosero's colourful cast of characters will remain in your memory long after the final page is turned, particularly those whose outward appearance belies their inner turmoil...Just as The Armies depicted the chaos that erupts in a rural town besieged by violence, Good Offices focuses on a small, insular community, in order to highlight a wider malaise. Rosero's evocative prose is lucidly translated by Anne Mclean and Anna Milsom, and his darkly comic satire hits its mark with an unsettling ferocity.--Lucy Popescu
Translated into a dozen European languages, published by the finest houses in Spain and Latin America, praised by critics, studied in universities, Rosero's dark worlds have managed to reach a wide audience. He is an oddity indeed, a writer who in spite of the considerable recognition he has attained has never come out of hiding. . . . Rosero affirms unashamedly that literature can and should change social reality, and that this is one of its main functions.