"The Illicit Happiness of Other People" by Manu Joseph.
This is a story about a family. One that used to be made up of four members, but now only has three as the older son, Unni Chacko, died three years past. Even though it's been some time since the older son died, the father, Ousep, has made it his mission to answer the one question that's been haunting the entire family: was it an accident? This is where Joseph's story starts, and takes the reader on a simple journey filled with complicated, well developed, and at times, frustrating, characters. I thought this was an extremely well written book; even though Joseph's story deals with many dark subjects, he injects some much needed humour and wit into his story that acts as a reprieve from the sadness that could have otherwise overwhelmed the reader. One of the things I found most interesting perhaps is how Joseph played with the idea of perception (I'm not sure if he meant to do this, or if this just something I took away from the book). As Ousep was on the quest to finding out what actually happened to Unni, he finds that, in a way, he is re-discovering who his son was. This led to three questions I kept asking myself while I was reading this book: are we made up of other people's perceptions of us? Is that what makes up the story of each of our lives? If so, that's a terrifying thought, isn't it? My only complaint about the book is that I thought it dragged in certain parts and some conversations between characters went on for way longer than they needed to. Other than that, I enjoyed this read and look forward to reading more of Joseph's work.
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