Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fiction: Good Offices by Evelio Rosero

Publisher: MacLehose Press
Translator: Anne McLean and Anna Milsom
Date: 2011
Format: paperback
Source: WLT giveaway shelf
Read: because it sounded interesting
Pages: 140
Reading time: two days

From the back cover: When Father Almida is summoned to an audience with the parish's principal benefactor, a stand-in is found in Father Matamoros, a drunkard with an angel's voice whose sung mass is mesmerizing to all. But Matamoros hides a darker side, and when the church's residents throw a feast for him he encourages them to lose all their inhibitions and give free reign to their most Bacchanalian desires.

My review: Good Offices is billed as being "comic" and "Bacchanalian" with "offbeat humor," so I was rather  surprised by how it actually turned out. The novella actually seemed quite serious to me, and there was little that I found comic. Father Matamoros, rather than being "Bacchanalian," seemed very passive, the unlively and accidental leader of what transpires throughout the story. The most interesting part was just trying to figure out what various events and characters symbolized in the satire. The ideas presented in the novella were intriguing, but overall the book fell flat of my expectations.

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