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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