06 December, 2020

The Beliefs That Never Were

Manu Joseph’s second novel has established him as a sui generis voice in Indian fiction.

The Beliefs That Never Were
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

How far can a suicide investigation go? If the suicide is the brilliant and beautiful seventeen-year-old cartoonist Unni Chacko, given to spooky explorations into human frailties and the nature of reality, then the investigation can take you on a metaphysical rollercoaster ride, carrying your verities slowly up the hump, then bringing them screaming down the other side. If the investigator is Ousep Chacko, a failed genius of Malayalam literature, a journalist and an alcoholic whose wife is not completely sane, then the same investigation can take you on a coruscating spin through a gendered world that destroys both men and women. A page-turner with a wide range of concerns structured around a suicide investigation, Manu Joseph’s second novel, The Illicit Happiness of Other People, has established him as a sui generis voice in Indian fiction.

The book begins three years after the suicide, when Ousep Chacko discovers a previously unseen comic his son finished the day he died. In the process of asking a question that he might have been better leaving...

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