Manu Joseph’s ‘The Illicit Happiness of Other People’ is at once a funny and a remarkable take on Indian milieu – one that could only be produced by the keenest of observers or by someone with the most cynical eye. Channelled observations and cynicism are, I am forced to believe, immensely rewarding. This book is a reward of this blend. Period.
Hilarious to the core, and rich in observations that — seldom go unnoticed, and — often remain unaccounted in the Indian writings, this book manages to keep one hooked by the vivacity and audacity of its plot. The characters are all so distinct yet recognisable.
Quite contrary to the title this book turns out to be a riveting one with just sufficient snippets of philosophy.
“A father’s search for the reason of his son’s suicide, and more importantly the resumption of this search after three years of sluggishness brings in a sense of alertness and surprise. By the time one reaches this point — and wait for the cliche — ‘this book becomes so unputdownable. Immensely readable in the truest sense of the words’.”
The book, in the end, left me thinking of only one thing – can we ever really understand other human beings?
The illicit happiness of other people must then be the result of our own indolence in learning about the lives of others, and our indifference to it.
Highly recommended read!