By Manu Joseph
A sparkling, comic novel about modern India.
Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize and shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.
Ayyan Mani is a man born to greater things, which wouldn't surprise his neighbours in the vast tenement building in which he lives, where to be sober and employed practically makes a man a legend.
He works as an assistant at the Institute of Theory and Research, where he studies with amusement and envy the public battles and private love affairs of the squabbling scientists. But when an opportunity for betterment presents itself in the form of his 'gifted' ten-year-old son Adi, father and son embark on an outrageous ruse that will have far-reaching consequences.
Manu Joseph's archly comic debut is a tale of a man's attempt to elevate himself and his family above the banality of ordinary existence.
Manu Joseph is editor of OPEN magazine. Previously he was national features editor of the largest newspaper in India, The Times of India, writer-at-large for Wired's website wired.com, and has written for the Independent. In 2007 he became a Chevening Scholar, an annual British government award for twelve journalists who will shape opinions in the future. This is his first novel.
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- Publication date:
10 Jun 2010
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Funny, diverting and original — Guardian
Manu Joseph's first novel elegantly describes collisions with an unyielding status quo, ably counterpointing the frustrations of the powerless with the unfulfilling realities of power. With this astute comedy of manners he makes a convincing bid for his own recognition as a novelist of serious talent, the latest addition to a roster of Indian writers who are creating fine literary art from their country's fearsome contradictions — Peter Carty, Independent
Manu Joseph's satirical tale of an ostensibly new India still in thrall to its caste-ridden and sexist traditions is so much more than a mere comic caper . . . Sophisticated entertainment — Catherine Taylor, Guardian
The finest comic novelists know that a small world can illuminate a culture and an age...with this sad-funny debut Joseph does just that — Boyd Tonkin, Books to light up lazy days, Independent
He has written a debut novel that skewers a society where new ambitions and older class divisions co-exist. From the contrasts of contemporary India, he extracts pointed, often bitter comedy — Sunday Times
The writing is exuberant — TLS
A charming debut novel — Guardian
One of the strongest debuts of 2010, this bittersweet Mumbai tale of high minds and low plots never quite won the plaudits it deserves. Now it has a second chance . . . More Lucky Jim than White Tiger . . . Touching, hilarious, this collision between the Mumbai of stars and of mud rediscovers a deep Indian vein of humane and sophisticated comedy — Independent