The Illicit Happiness of Other People
More lists with this book...
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 ...more
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 p ...more
A father trying to find the probable answer why his seventeen year old son, Unni, committed suicide after three years of his death when a set of comics being delivered back to their house.
He never seemed to be the one who would commit such an act.
Things he never knew about his son gets revealed, things he never knew about his other 'less smart' son he gets to know, things about the secret past of his wife had to come out an ...more
"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 ...more
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 writ ...more
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, addin...more
The setting was familiar, the place and the schooling at 90s. It was a nostalgic read bringing back memories of a few drunken neighbours of the likes of Ousep, two suicides, the entrance exam preparations, the political climate of the city the ...more
To me, a good book is always the one that inflicts a change in me. It could be positive, negative or even something which is neutral, but if it changes anything within me, it is good enough. The Illicit Happiness of Other People is a strange book. I know it's a good one, because it definitely changed something inside me. It's difficult to explain what, but I know, after I turned the last page, I was changed.
It's a story about how a father, tries to find a good reason to believe ...more
In all those respects, I liked his second book even more! It's been a while since a writer made me laugh (yes, LOL) on one page, and then forced me to ponder eternal questions or given me a poignant moment on the very next page! The author's remar ...more
These key subplots revolve around the whydunnit suicide of a philosphically minded teen cartoonist who is in attitude and behaviour, stronger and wiser than ...more
Unni a boy of seventeen has committed suicide and his drunken father and a bit soft in the head mother do not know why. The ...more
Strange book. ...more
The book is essentially some of the finest contemporary Indian writing that I have read, the kind of writing that doesn't try too hard to be beautiful or witty. It tells a story ...more
The characters are all too real. The body language, idiosyncrasies, all the bearings of a typical Malayalee Catholic family (shout-out to my favorite, the endearingly stupid and adorable Thoma Chacko here).
For those of you who have read Sense of an Ending, would feel an uncanny resemblance betw ...more
( I started reading the book while I was inside train, and completed the book in return trip. Hardly 8 hours. The book is that classic!) ...more
You curl up with Manu Joseph's The Illicit Happiness of Other People, and you cannot stop until the end.
Your heart breaks for Mariamma.
Your heart angers for Philipoise. And the true and tragic nature of life that allows men like him to thrive.
Your heart yearns for Thoma. And, the sad-happy moments of life that make men out of boys.
Your heart saddens for Ousep.
And, your heart leaps for ...more
Manu Joseph’s The Illicit Happiness of Other People, henceforth TIHOOP in this review, often left me smiling and chuckling, and more than quite often, pensive.
TIHOOP, in its second read (immediately after the first, an endeavour I rarely undertake), remained riveting and enriched, lost none of its magical and abiding charms, and as it is with almost every second read, you get a tighter grip on some things which escaped ...more
Before I started this book I was vaguely under the impression that once upon a time Manu Joseph used to be a sharp and insightful journalist, until he drank the sanghi kool aid and became a full fledged apologist for fascism. Turns out he was always this annoying. If you'd like to skip the rest, read this article by Asim Ali instead, written in response to Joseph's facile piece about the riots in Delhi.
For anyone unfamiliar with indian politics, Manu Joseph c ...more
Ousep Chacko is the disconsolate father who is persistent in his quest for 'truth' not withstanding his dual personality of the sober and the d ...more
So what if the book meandered unnecessarily and launched into lengthy monologues towards the end?
So what if the lines of thought of the Chacko family did not exactly converge and tie up as I'd hoped they would?
So what if the e ...more