Serious Men, By Manu Joseph

Reviewed,Boyd Tonkin
Friday 04 March 2011 01:00

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 – with a more populist, even Slumdog Millionaire-ish cover - it has a second chance.

More Lucky Jim than White Tiger, Joseph's novel follows Ayyan, a low-caste drudge at the scientific Institute, that noble "asylum for great minds".

He schemes a stellar future for himself and 10-year-old son Adi (A Brief History of Time? "I don't like it"). Harassed star-gazer Arvind listens to Pavarotti while solving the "remaining mysteries of the universe" such as extraterrestrial life...

Touching, hilarious, this collision between the Mumbai of stars and of mud rediscovers a deep Indian vein of humane and sophisticated comedy.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in