The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph

The Illicit Happiness of Other People

Manu Joseph

The central character of this story is dead, a probable suicide. Unni's alcoholic father's quest to discover why their golden boy killed himself reveals a very dysfunctional family in an equally dysfunctional city society. I found the parents frustrating, but loved Thoma the younger son. This could be a dark tale, but it's lightly written and full of comic situations - it really is a funny tragedy.

Extract

Thoma wonders whether on a vast field far away Annamol wags a finger at a jackfruit tree and accuses his mother of cutting her hair. Grandmother probably still does not know the truth.
It was Unni who cut her hair. He was just fifteen then but he was brave, always brave. The night Annamol left, he said with terrifying hatred in his eyes, 'Justice for our mother Thoma. The worst thing that can happen to a person is a tragedy that is also funny. And that has happened to Grandmother.'

Parallels
  • Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga
  • Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes