Ousep Chacko, journalist and failed novelist, prides himself on being "the last of the real men." This includes waking neighbors upon returning late from the pub. His wife Mariamma stretches their money, raises their two boys, and, in her spare time, gleefully fantasizes about Ousep dying. One day, their seemingly happy seventeen-year-old son Unni - an obsessed comic-book artist - falls from the balcony, leaving them to wonder whether it was an accident.
Three years later, Ousep receives a package that sends him searching for the answer, hounding his son's former friends, attending a cartoonists' meeting, and even accosting a famous neurosurgeon. Meanwhile, younger son Thoma, missing his brother, falls head over heels for the much older girl who befriended them both. Haughty and beautiful, she has her own secrets.
The Illicit Happiness of Other People - a smart, wry, and poignant novel - teases you with its mystery, philosophy, and unlikely love story.
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"Starred Review. Joseph writes with extraordinary wit, cunning and sympathy about both family relationships and ultimate mysteries." - Kirkus Reviews
"Indian author Joseph's smart new novel...is laced with black humor and keen observations on human nature." - Publishers Weekly
"... Joseph's prose is exquisitely phrased without an excess of sentimentality ... the confident, immersing voice of Illicit Happiness promises readers this is not the last we've heard of Manu Joseph." - The Telegraph (UK)
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Manu Joseph, who lives in New Delhi, is a columnist for the International Herald Tribune. His first novel, Serious Men, won the PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.
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