The illicit happiness of other people

by Joseph, Manu.

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Joseph
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Joseph
Green Tree Public Library Adult Fiction F JOS
Location  Green Tree Public Library
Collection  Adult Fiction
Call Number  F JOS
Northland Public Library Fiction FIC JOSEPH
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC JOSEPH
The PEN Open Book Award called Manu Joseph "that rare bird who can wildly entertain his readers as forcefully as he moves them." In The Illicit Happiness of Other People, Joseph brilliantly brings his talents to the story of an Indian Christian family living far afield in south India.It has been three years since seventeen-year-old Unni Chacko mysteriously fell from a balcony to his death. His family--journalist father Ousep, who smokes two cigarettes at once "because three is too much"; mother Mariamma, who fantasizes gleefully about murdering her husband; and twelve-year-old love-struck brother Thoma with zero self-esteem, have coped by not coping. When the post office delivers a comic drawn by Unni that had been lost in the mail, Ousep, shocked out of his stupor, ventures on a quest to understand his son and rewrite his family's story.Combining family drama with philosophy, social satire with satisfying storytelling, The Illicit Happiness of Other People reminds us that the greatest mystery of all--the one most worth our time and energy--is understanding the people we love.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Joseph's sublime new novel takes place in early 1990s Madras, India, where Ousep Chacko has reinvigorated his pursuit for the truth about his son Unni's inexplicable death three years ago. An aspiring cartoonist well known in the community, Unni was mere weeks from his eighteenth birthday when he deliberately lept from his family's third-floor balcony. The question that no one can answer, of course, is why. Ousep, a journalist and neighborhood drunk, obsessively pours through Unni's drawings, searching for clues his son may have left behind, and relentlessly hounds his son's former classmates and fellow cartoon enthusiasts for information. Meanwhile, Ousep's fixation impacts his wife, Mariamma, a fiercely protective woman who has long-suffered Ousep's nightly alcohol-induced obstreperousness. Also affected is their young son, Thoma, who is drawn to the older girl next door, who holds her own secrets about Unni. As Ousep's investigation continues, the fissures in Unni's story are slowly revealed. Joseph's witty narrative adds depth and vigor to the Chacko family's tale and assuredly explores the complexity of self-perception amidst present-day life.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Indian author Joseph's smart new novel, after 2010's PEN/Open Book Award-winning Serious Men, is laced with black humor and keen observations on human nature. Three years after 17-year-old Unni Chacko, a budding cartoonist, plunged from his third-floor terrace, his father, Ousep, resumes his obsessive search for the truth behind his death, using his son's funny and contemplative comics as guides in his quest through modern-day India. Ousep, a journalist, spends his days interrogating those who knew Unni, and his nights drunkenly waking his neighbors upon his return home. His wife, Mariamma, tries to protect their younger son, Thoma, from Ousep's harmless but humiliating alcoholic rages, while Thoma struggles to impress the beautiful Mythili, one of the brothers' closest friends. What Ousep discovers, after interviewing Unni's friends, fellow artists, teachers, and anyone else he can track down, is a deeply thoughtful teenager burdened by weighty existential quandaries. Joseph's rich characters intersect in moments of tenderness, yet each continues along a path that gracefully highlights the titular Other and the emotional divides that separate individuals. Lucky for us, Joseph's empathic prose deftly bridges those gaps. Agent: Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Families -- India -- Fiction.
Chennai (India) -- Fiction.
Black humor.
Love stories.
Publisher New York :W. W. Norton & Co.,2013
Edition 1st American ed.
Language English
Description 344 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 9780393338621 (pbk.)
0393338622 (pbk.)
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