Friday, April 25, 2014

Manu Joseph's "The Illicit Happiness of Other People"



I'd heard so much about Manu Joseph's comic prowess that the unexpectedly dark "The Illicit Happiness of Other People" (2012) came as a surprise.

No, I haven't read his debut novel yet but his second work of fiction is best described as a philosophical potboiler.

Why does 17-year-old Unni, the charismatic son of a UNI journalist in Chennai, jump to his death?

It's a riddle his alcoholic father would have to solve by questioning Unni's classmates, a nun who has taken a vow of silence, and a corpse among others. Add to the mix a woman who talks to walls and a young boy who knows what Pele's real name is.

Manu Joseph uses his characters well to present a pacy whodunit -- or rather, whydunit -- that is worth your time.

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