The one in search of happiness fades away in the sentiment of shame.The girl left behind with his dreams struggles to make peace with the event.The one who wants to unwind the truth refuses the realty.The one who is the origin of all, the mother, sits back as the moving force for all the events but remains passive herself It is about drawing happiness out of the forbidden corners of mental inabilities, camouflaged feelings of sensuality and attempts to draw an acceptable image of unacceptable past.It is about those other people who don t even recognize there life altering impact on the people they passed through Their happiness is the truth Rest all around it is an attempt to indulge in the depths of ones own understanding in a vain effort to find its reasons.The author seems to be laughing at reader as one progresses through the story Why would one read all the idiotic philosophy the boy seems to have discovered and still continue And yet one turns pages in the hope that 1 This boy who is somehow creating his happiness in the dark background that he belongs to, how far can he make 2 Can illusion of mind overpower the imprints of facts that it denies Again, how far 3 Can a parent ever make peace with the loss of his her child I as a reader thank the author for the way he tackles the ending of the book The last 30 pages have done a fair job. A great start to my 2015 Indian Book challenge This was one book that I relished from beginning to end It was so different, so eccentric and full of dark humor and satire, with eccentric and individualistic characters The narration mesmerized me, made me contemplate a rare feat , and I almost became a part of the folie a deux The plot revolves around the suicide of Unni Chacko, a 17 year old precocious thinker, who leaves behind a grieving younger brother Thoma, perhaps the most sane character in the whole book, parents who are at logger heads, and distinct in their own ways alcoholic father who loudly abuses all and sundry each night, and a raving mad with gaps of chilling sanity mother, who talks to the house and walls Their next door neighbour, the 16 year old Mythili, who was 13 when Unni died, is also an interesting character There are many others too, but the book revolves around Unni s suicide and the quest of the family in search of the cause thereof I sympathized with all, especially Thoma, my favourite I lived the colony life of the dusty Madras middle class society, I laughed and cried with them, and I was always echoing Unni s family Oh, Unni, why, why, why I met his various friends, even visited a psychiatry professor I doubted the existence of universe and God, and I was for one moment scared of that blasphemy This is one book which I will read again, perhaps savoring each line, and digging for the hidden meaning behind the sentences.I got another Indian author to admire and gush about, who showed me the depths to which human curiosity and behavior can delve into. Unni, what an idiot you turned out to be, thinks Mythili Balasubramaniam, and as the book unfolds to reveal the character of Unni Chacko, we think the same.Manu Joseph has written a spectacular novel, one of those things that stay in your head years after you read it, and splinters from which you will use in conversation decades later The story of a dysfunctional Malayali family in 1987 Madras, the novel is unputdownable.Ousep Chacko carries the story along, and his flawed, disturbed character is absolutely mesmerizing But the figure that matters the most, of course, is Unni, and his presence in the book, though only physical when memories are being shared, is almost magical All the characters look at life through him before him and after him And the ideas that the author throws around are amazing, schizophrenia, good vs evil, revenge, shame, guilt, every human emotion is tackled at least once How the author managed to weave it all in, I have no clue, but he did, and so well.The setting is almost as important Manu Joseph lashes out at Madras in searing prose, taking his anger out on the great city and its remarkable stupidities in a way I will remember for some time Not only does Madras come alive, it hangs its head in shame The author makes sure of it.Enjoyed is not the word I lapped it up in two sittings, engrossed and sated This is a wonderful book.Get the hardcover it is a beautiful thing, and read it at least twice You ll love it. I knew it It couldn t have been just me There must be others Others, like me, painted simpletons aggregated within the ambiguous definition by media as world s second largest population who have a story to tell, observations to make and analysis to provide about our ilk I knew it I knew it every time I read the uber rich desis educated in foreign colleges living in a developed country somewhere writing about the dust and smell of India , I knew it when I read depressingly bad quality books written by authors with nothing but the stamp of an IIM and or an IIT degree validating their piss poor caricature of puppy love in colleges, I knew it when I read cocktail party intellectuals write long sermons on Indians I knew that there has to be someone like Manu Joseph out there writing our story, the story of us, the middle class Indians I am glad he did so in this book and splendidly at that.This book moved me, fucked with my mind and drove me to raptures of laughter that lingered, strangely as a melancholic afterthought A few specific thoughts below What I liked1 The voice Holy shit the voice this man writes with is an art by in itself Nuanced, intelligent and observant with a touch of arrogance.Here now is the final stand of an age, the last time one can profile a street in Madras and be correct Men are managers, mothers are housewives And all bras are white.2 Explains the phenomenon that Indian mothers are Almost always profiled as a creepy, conservative mama bear the reader of Indian authors is deprived of the closer look these women deserve Mariamma Chacko sounded so familiar to me, like someone I knew The women of the 80 s, well educated, with potential to become a professor thrust into a marriage she hardly wanted carrying on her shoulders, quite stubbornly, a secret she chooses to suffer alone Her characterization is almost poetic.3 The harsh but funny truth of middle class daily life This hit me hard man And close to home Without giving out spoilers, I will tell you this that if as a kid you knew the humiliation of borrowing at a grocery shop, there are pages in this book that will tear you up That Manu Joseph manages to say it as it is and then deliver it with humour warms my heart to know that Indian writing has come of age.4 Love as love is in Middle class India I won t say much but I think Manu Joseph knows what this phrase love failure case means in Madras as he prefers to calls Chennai Stuff Google can t turn up with a researched article on but a young man in Chennai probably would What I did not likeWho am I to say anything about this master This book is almost perfect in my eyes in achieving what it intended to do There were a few thing though that I think weren t perfect or bit out of whack but then I guess Unni Chacko would have understood. Rare combination of creative complex ideas entwined within a very simple plot A curious father trying to unearth the reason for his son s suicide This is how people resolve suicides by considering it a consequence of unbearable grief or by manufacturing motives Or through the inordinate importance given to the final note of the dead, which is usually only a confused half truth Take a bow Manu Joseph, for giving us superb characters especially Unni Chacko What a brilliant character in a 17 year old witty student, cartoonist, leader, philosopher, keen observer, brimming with life and ironically commiting suicide No matter what their delusions are, parents do not really know their children All chapter titles are enigmatically designed such that the moment you reach towards the end, you realise its apt meaning True that for the book s title as well Immensely enjoyed this gem of a book Intelligent writing Highly recommended. Reading this book, Manu Joseph seems at once a discovery and an old friend for Indian writing in English He has a witty style, adding meticulously observed details that make it unputdownable But I found that all the characters towards the end had Ousep s or Unni s narrative style, or less So, as the extra ordinary became plausible, the characters themselves started to evaporate into one homogenous personality This even made me re think the plot Maybe there is really only one boy, Unni and all other boys are confabulations of the distraught father to resurrect him from the dead but no, it seems that is not the case Secondly, the plot does not end with a believable enough reason for the question why that gets us going from page 1 It seems odd that the end affirmed the popular vote that it was indeed a suicide, rather than end as a tribute to the cartoonist as a simple accident, a laughable one, even It would have been commendable that Unni got the last laugh even as his father kept digging for a reasonas the last para seems to suggest So, reconciliation of the plot was somehow forced and didn t agree well with the protagonists all the Chackos stance Somehow I feel they were denied that bit of relief when they could well have had it On the whole, a great and timely effort Just wish it ended differently, giving less into adult cynicism and to adolescent naivete, with the bravado of accidental heroes. A deeply disturbing book to read It is depressing to read about deaths, especially suicides.This is about Ousep chacko, an alcoholic father, who goes is search of the reason for his son Unni chacko s suicide in this journey he learns about his seventeen year old son many details which he didn t know when he was alive Loved unni s cartoons and empathused with thoma, unni s brother..Parents never really understand their children Thats my most important takeaway from this book Wonderful writing and it was unput downable towards the second half Thanks Gorab for such a wonderful reco The recommendations I m getting this year are mostly hits D 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 Ousep Chacko, according to Mariamma Chacko, is the kind of man who has to be killed at the end of a story But he knows that she is not very sure about this sometimes, especially in the mornings That was a solid opening to this tale Couldn t have expected for a better opening The thing I ve realized about Manu Joseph s storytelling he is exceptionally good at drawing the reader s attention He belongs to the league of amazing authors who are remarkable at introducing the characters, adding the mystery, setting the environment, and easing the readers into the narration If Serious Men made me chuckle, then The Illicit Happiness of Other People gave me the blues This too, just like all the books I liked, made me regret not completing the book in one sitting. It is the misanthrope alone who has clarity By standing outside the huddles of man, he sees a lot, and what he often sees is the evidence that people are not as smart as dogs think they are And he wants to see it time and again In the fog of ambiguities and mysteries, he desperately searches for truths because truth usually shows humanity in a poor light Found myself thinking about this book the next day at work due to the incredible substance of the story The mystery of why Unni did what he did, kept me puzzling However, when the mystery was revealed, it turned out to be a typical Indian Cinema Melodrama, and ultimately the ending looked ridiculous and absurd because the narration kept me anticipated for an extraordinary finish Only, later when I was thinking about the story, I realized how the intuitiveness of certain people is often easier to understand than those who are comprehensive and intriguing In regard to this very aesthetic attribute, the ending seemed reasonable. The world cannot be conned so easily by frauds Great god men are great because they really believe they are holy And all our gods, Ousep, are not lies They existed All our gods, from the beginning of time, have been men with psychiatric conditions And their delusions were so deep, they passed them on God and believer were then locked in the Folly of Two, they still are Excellent prose with genuine observations, ironical characterizations, and editing are the standout aspects of this book Absorbing and affecting books with artistic prose should come with a warning Damn I gotta man up and read me some grit. This book made me write my first ever review on Goodreads The book is about a father s quest to know why his son did what he did Each character had its own story which was beautifully woven in the plot Full of dark humor and satire.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Illicit Happiness of Other People book, this is one of the most wanted Manu Joseph author readers around the world.
- 352 pages
- The Illicit Happiness of Other People
- Manu Joseph
- 05 July 2019 Manu Joseph