“Tuesdays for the blind, Mondays for the whores, Fridays for families, Wednesdays for the street kids, Saturdays and Sundays for God, or so says the priest.” This is how this Catholic church in Evelio Rosero’s Good Offices serves free lunches in Bogotá.
The book is called “The Lunches” in its original language of Spanish, but oddly, and quite frankly sadly enough, the book is not about these lunches. They are only mentioned in the beginning, and then the book takes a different turn. For any aspiring authors out there, a book about lunches like these would end up on my to read list!
Tancredo is a young man with a hunchback who helps out Father Almida at the church, where the both of them also live. After serving food to people on a Thursday he gets irritated because people keep on staying in the church even though food is no longer served. Thursdays are for the old. This short book is about one day, starting on a Thursday afternoon, seen through the eyes of Tancredo.
The balanced and peaceful community life at the church gets stirred up when Father Matamoros replaces Father Almida during the night mass, and it changes them all for good. The tight community is not the same after one life changing mass. Father Almida has said the mass for forty years, so to be honest, something was bound to happen.
Father Matamoros, a notorious drinker, gets the core church crowd to drink with him, and sins are revealed. Surprisingly much can happen in less than 150 pages, during a day in life. Hypocrisy and redemption are two key words in this story. I would say this is a quick fictitious introduction to the corruption in the Catholic church seen through the eyes of oppressed people in a small community “controlled” by the church,
They say two people never read the same book, and in this case I have a feeling everyone finds something different. I am quite sure someone with a Catholic background will read a different Good Offices than I read. To be fair this can obviously be said about most books written from extremely strong cultural or religious points of views, especially when it comes to surreal and satirical settings.