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Good Offices

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  85 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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, Fath ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 28th 2011 by New Directions (first published September 1st 2011)
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Nov 09, 2011 jeremy rated it liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
good offices (los almuerzos) is the second work by colombian novelist evelio rosero to be translated into english. his first, the armies (los ejércitos), is a compelling story about the horrors of war that garnered him a pair of prestigious literary awards. good offices lacks the intensity of the previous work, yet is still an engaging read, albeit one with a more measured trajectory. set in the capital city of bogotá, the novella deals with the hypocrisies and moral injustices of the local cath ...more
Nikki Green

What a strange and surreal little book! I feel like I have to explain my three stars though. While I would strongly recommends that people read this, and I managed it beginning to end in about 3 hours hence the “little book” statement, I didn’t enjoy the subject matter. I have never been one for books in religious settings (Apart from "In the name of the Rose"). The book is a religious satire, and it has a very dark undertone, especially in the characters of the three Lilias and to me that makes
Nicholas Buzanski
Jul 27, 2015 Nicholas Buzanski rated it it was amazing
Fuck you. This is a book you need to read. Fuck you. You don't understand the longtime repression of the fucking Catholic Church. This is an illuminated novel. One of the best.
Jul 19, 2012 Anthony rated it liked it
Though not as compelling as The Armies, The Good Offices is a chilling little book worth attention. All of the events elapse in just one day and are focused on the hunchback named Tancredo, who is lives as an indentured servant in a Catholic Church in Bogota, Columbia. From the opening line we learn that Tancredo, “has a terrible fear of being an animal,” yet as the narrative unfolds we witness that it is not only Tancredo who is subject to primal instincts.

The little church that is home to Tanc
Apr 27, 2012 Zach rated it really liked it
Good Offices' greatest strength it the tightness of the narrative. It's short for a reason; this is exactly how long was needed to execute the plot and develop the themes. And the themes are what the book is all about. Repression and vice, and the interesting fact is that self-repression is its own sort of vice, and like any vice, if it is inflicted upon another, it becomes an insufferable burden. The players in the novel are the repressed/oppressed residents of a church and the one man, a visit ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Nathanimal rated it really liked it
By chance the second book in a row I've read that involves cat-strangling. Both fantastic books, but take it easy on the cats okay?

A weird little book. There's a hunchback, and three witches, and a near-albino nympho-maniacal angel, and a priest with a hauntingly holy voice and a drinking problem. There's also some elderly people who will tell you they are already dead when they're obviously not. As the night grows darker all these characters get mixed into a bizarre anxiety dream. The witches w
Aaron Kent
Mar 24, 2014 Aaron Kent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Great, short, demented book. It presents some amazing, dare I say painterly scenes along the lines of Goya's "Witches in the Air"
Oct 04, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it
4 1/2 Stars. At the center of Good Offices, a new novel by Evelio Rosero and translated by Anne McLean with Anna Milsom, is Tancredo—a hunchback and an orderly at a Catholic church in Bagotá, Columbia with an almost pathological fear of becoming an animal, a recurring anxiety no doubt provoked by suppressed guilt over his love affair with Sabina, a pale, moonfaced secretary and close friend since childhood, who pleads Tancredo to run away with her. Read our whole review at nthWORD Shorts:

Kobe Bryant
Mar 10, 2014 Kobe Bryant rated it really liked it
It's too bad they had to strangle all those cats but they did steal the rabbit
Feb 12, 2013 Jilanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A timely book, considering the Catholic Church is currently steeped in controversy. The book features a somewhat unreliable narrator who is at times humorous, other times darkly passionate. Sometimes simultaneously. It is a slim, fast read that is best enjoyed in one sitting so it allows you to enter this strange and mysterious world where things may not always be as they seem. A world filled with varied passions, young and old oppressed women, dim light, alcohol, shovels, gardens, and cats. The ...more
Matt Hunt
Dec 08, 2015 Matt Hunt rated it really liked it
fuckity fuck.
Jan 27, 2014 Alic added it
Think I must have missed something. Thought it was terrible.
Gilbert Wilcox
Nov 25, 2012 Gilbert Wilcox rated it it was amazing

A short, detailed account of lives interwoven into the activities of a church: several people supporting the churches rites & giving through hard, laborious work & yet two find a bit of passion if not love. Ultimately, two others find their end, but the novel stops, suddenly, not tying up loose ends, but leaving us wondering.
Dec 27, 2012 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent. Keeps getting better and better, leading up to an increasingly surreal and shocking ending. Fabulous translation by the always-dependable Anne McLean (this time with Anna Milsom). I get the feeling that there are some very weird novels that remain untranslated in Rosero's oeuvre.
Nov 09, 2014 Pickle rated it really liked it
Creepy, disturbingly funny and oddly captivating. Killer first sentence: "He has a terrible fear of being an animal, especially on Thursdays, at lunchtime." Would be fun to read this alongside Bolaño's "By Night in Chile."
Nov 03, 2011 Jewel rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I don't have the moments to write a detailed review but I will say this book was a quick read. "Good Offices" provides a look at the corruption of a small Catholic church. Read this if you like your mind to be gently proded.
Audacia Ray
Nov 04, 2011 Audacia Ray rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2011
I enjoyed Good Offices but was very aware that I was not getting it. Maybe I would understand better if I had been raised Catholic.
Jul 23, 2013 Danni rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
A very odd little book - but despite its brevity, it was wonderful.
Jan 04, 2012 Rey rated it it was amazing
Quick read. Haunting story. Loved it.
Anya Bogorad
May 21, 2012 Anya Bogorad rated it it was ok
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Evelio Rosero Diago was born in Bogotá, Colombia, on March 20, 1958. He is a Colombian writer and journalist, who reached international acclaim after winning in 2006 the prestigious Tusquets Prize.

Evelio Rosero studied primary school in Colombia’s southern city of Pasto, and high school in Bogotá, where he later attended Universidad Externado de Colombia obtaining a degree in Journalism. When he w
More about Evelio Rosero...

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