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Serious Men

A Novel

Manu Joseph (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

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

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • August 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33859-1
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide, excluding Canada, the British Commonwealth and the European Union.


Endorsements & Reviews

Serious Men goes beyond genre. It is indeed satirical but foremost, it is an amazingly accurate depiction of reality. Joseph is an acute, sensitive observer and his writing accumulates the myriad circumstantial details of everyday life which makes it real. … It’s been a very good year for South Asian English novels and Serious Men could be the pick of the crop.” — Pratik Kanjilal, Hindustan Times

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