Reviewed by Claudia R.

” Ayyan was certain that there was no such thing called truth. There was only the pursuit of truth and it was a pursuit that would always go on. It was a form of employment. “Everything that people do in this world is because they have nothing better to do,” he told Oja Mani once. “Einstein had something called Relativity. You scrub the floor twice a day.”

Serious Men by Manu Joseph is like that perfectly curved, gleaming seashell one finds amongst crushed chaos on an early morning beach stroll. It’s a lush, clever, quirky, anomalous read that ends all too quickly but manages to linger on the edges of the brain long after completion.

Ayyan Mani lives with his wife and son in Mumbai. He has a clerical position at the Institute of Research and Theory but maintains aspirations to step outside tradition and class confinement and become something more. Using his son, Adi, as an experiment towards this end, Ayyan devises a plot in which Adi appears to be a genius, garnering publicity, recognition at work and the unfettered joy of Oja, his wife.

At work, Ayyan infiltrates the upper crust of self-absorbed Management and schemes a way to bring down his egotistical boss by divulging a torrid inter-office affair, offering an at times hilarious view of the cost of ambition and the consequences of honest, but misguided actions. Actions that, more often than not, backfire, leading to a chain of events completely unexpected and undesired.

Rich in native heritage and wisdom, Serious Men offers a glimpse in to the lives of has and has-nots outside the confines of white-bread America. Culturally diverse, elegantly resplendent with local dogma, Josephs spins a familiar tale of want versus need in to an elaborate tapestry of longing, despair, desire and dramatics that will leave you with a deeper insight of mankind. Breathtakingly beautiful, from beginning to end.

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mom, aspiring writer, avid photographer & volunteer for Missie’s Closet, an emergency food & necessities pantry for the low-income in her area.

This book was provided free of any obligation by W. W. Norton & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.