Publication Date: September 2011
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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.
About the AuthorEvelio Rosero, born in Bogota, 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 Cort zar, Carmen Mart n Gaite, Ignacio Padilla, and Evelio Rosero.
Anna Milsom, b. 1951, is an acclaimed experimental artist.