Manu Joseph - The Illicit Happiness of Other People


Philosophy, social satire and family drama in 1980's Madras

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Join novelist Manu Joseph in conversation with Hari Kunzru (Gods Without Men) about his new novel The Illicit Happiness of Other People. Followed by a book sale and signing.

The Illicit Happiness of Other People is Manu Joseph’s highly anticipated second novel following his PEN Open Book Award–winning Serious Men (2010). In a similar spirit, yet derived from a time and place closer to home, Joseph crafts the smart, wry story of the Chackos, a Christian family living in a gossipy Madras housing community in the late 1980s. The story starts three years after the gifted but troubled teenager; Unni Chacko mysteriously fell from the balcony of his building. When the post office delivers a comic drawn by Unni that had been lost in the mail since his death, his alcoholic father Ousep is shocked out of his stupor and ventures on a solitary quest to understand his son and rewrite his family’s story. As Joseph slyly told the Indian newspaper The Hindu, “It’s all real, I haven’t made up anything.”

Deftly combining family drama with philosophy and social satire with The Illicit Happiness of Other People is an engrossing psychological mystery, which reminds us that the greatest mystery of all is to understand the people we love.

“Ingeniously constructed. . . . [Joseph is] using his witty, incisive writing to explore the great philosophical questions of happiness and life.” — Manil Suri, author of The City of Devi

Manu Joseph's acclaimed first novel, Serious Men, won the PEN Open Book Award and The Hindu Best Fiction Award. It was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, the regional Commonwealth Prize, and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for best comic novel. Joseph lives in New Delhi, where he is a columnist for the International Herald Tribune and editor of Open magazine.

Hari Kunzru is a prize-winning writer and author of the novels The Transmission, My Revolutions and Gods Without Men, as well as a short story collection, Noise. The Deputy President of English PEN, he is also a patron of the Refugee Council and a member of the editorial board of Mute magazine. Kunzru lives in New York City.

Related links:
Read an excerpt from The Illicit Happiness of Other People
Interview with Manu Joseph
Shop AsiaStore for The Illicit Happiness of Other People

Outreach partners
SAJA (South Asian Journalists' Association)
American India Foundation
The New York Public Library

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Event Details

Thu 10 Jan 2013
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York, NY
Buy Tickets
$10 members; $12 students with ID/seniors; $15 nonmembers
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