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Serious Men: A Novel by Manu Joseph
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Serious Men: A Novel

by Manu Joseph

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
When I read a wonderful book like Serious Men that actually debuted in 2010, I wonder how many amazing books slip through the cracks. This one certainly did.

Our main character, Ayyan, is poor and low-caste in India. His boss teeters on the edge of ruining the reputation of the entire institute where he works by pursuing a wacky attempt to prove the existence of aliens. His wife is nervous and his son is anonymous. Ayyan decides to embark on a crazy scheme to change his life.

Beautifully written. ( )
  debnance | Jun 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting campus comedy which includes some big ideas about the nature of belief and knowledge. ( )
  lanceparkin | Mar 27, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Serious Men is delightful -- a cleverly and beautifully written satire with intriguing characters and an insightful look at the divide between the haves and have-nots in contemporary Mumbai.

Ayyan Mani, a Dalit (formerly untouchable) clerk works for Brahmin scientists in the Institute of Theory and Research as they search for the influences of alien life of earth. At home, Ayyan lives in one room of a massive chawl tenement with his soap-opera addicted wife, Oja, and eleven-year old son, Adit. He is determined to make life for his family more exciting, and he proceeds in classic trickster fashion.

His boss, the renowned astronomer and Director of the Institute, Dr. Arvind Archarya, becomes embroiled in a war with his colleagues over the methodologies of finding alien life and in an extra-marital affair with the first woman scientist at the Institute. Ayyan does not hesitate to take advantage of the situation revelling in the discomfiture of the Brahmins.

That said, Joseph writes with a light touch and grants all the major characters their humanity (there are some dastardly villains to spice up the mixture). Highly recommended for an entertaining read. ( )
1 vote janeajones | Dec 31, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I laughed out loud at the bald-faced lying and scheming that Manu Joseph's low caste protagonist was doing every day. All the written quotes putting down Brahmins, the cheating to get his son ahead in school, the newspaper reports of his genius son. What a wonderful character! Then, the other protagonist, the head of the Institute who might spend all day staring out the window, thinking of all the minute particles in the universe, spinning scenarios about extra-terrestrial life in the cosmos. Very, very different characters! The interaction between these two men was one of deception until the very end, when they needed each other to collude in order to get what each one wanted the most. Extraordinary plotting. Very, very enjoyable. ( )
  augustdreams | Oct 3, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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.
added by Cariola | editThe Independent, Peter Carty (Jun 11, 2010)
 
Joseph's finely portrayed characters exude wit and warmth in this engaging and introspective tale.
added by bell7 | editBooklist, Leah Strauss
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393338592, Paperback)

A poignant, bitingly funny Indian satire and love story set in a scientific institute and in Mumbai’s humid tenements.

Ayyan Mani will not be constrained by Indian traditions. Despite working at the Institute of Theory and Research in Mumbai as the lowly personal assistant to a brilliant but insufferable astronomer, he dreams of more for himself and his family.

Ever wily and ambitious, Ayyan weaves two plots: the first to cheer up his weary, soap-opera-addicted wife by creating outrageous fictions around their ten-year-old son; the other to sabotage the married director by using his boss’s seeming romance with the institute’s first female—and very attractive—researcher. Meanwhile, as the institute’s Brahmins wage a vicious war over theories about alien life, Ayyan sees his deceptions intertwining and setting in motion a series of extraordinary events he cannot stop. Unfailingly funny and irreverent, Serious Men is at once a hilarious portrayal of runaway egos and ambitions and a moving portrait of love and its strange workings.

One of 2010’s “First Novels to Savor.” —Sunday Telegraph

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:33 -0400)

Funny and irreverent, Serious Men is at once a hilarious portrayal of runaway egos and ambitions and a moving portrait of love and its strange workings.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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