Ousep Chacko, journalist and failed novelist, prides himself on being "the last of the real men." His wife, Mariamma, finds ways to feed her family despite their lack of money, but in her spare time she fantasizes about Ousep's early death. One day, their seventeen-year-old son, Unni - a boy obsessed with comics - does something terrible and inexplicable. Ousep and Mariamma separately try to solve the mystery of Unni's action but find no answers. Three years later, Ousep receives a package that sends him back to the search. He starts to hound his son's friends and a famous neurosurgeon. Meanwhile, younger son Thoma - a twelve-year-old with below-sea-level self-esteem - falls desperately in love with their haughty, beautiful teenage neighbour, who has her own secrets. The Illicit Happiness of Other People - a smart, wry and poignant novel - is part mystery, part philosophy and part unlikely love story.
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