The PEN Open Book Award called Manu Joseph "that rare bird who can wildly entertain his readers as forcefully as he moves them." In The Illicit Happiness of Other People, Joseph brilliantly brings his talents to the story of an Indian Christian family living far afield in south India. It has been three years since seventeen-year-old Unni Chacko mysteriously fell from a balcony to his death. His family-journalist father Ousep, who smokes two cigarettes at once "because three is too much"; mother Mariamma, who fantasizes gleefully about murdering her husband; and twelve-year-old love-struck brother Thoma with zero self-esteem, have coped by not coping. When the post office delivers a comic drawn by Unni that had been lost in the mail, Ousep, shocked out of his stupor, ventures on a quest to understand his son and rewrite his family's story. Combining family drama with philosophy, social satire with satisfying storytelling, The Illicit Happiness of Other People reminds us that the greatest mystery of all-the one most worth our time and energy-is understanding the people we love.