Ayyan Mani, head astronomer at the Institute of Theory and Research, works as a submissive personal assistant to a brilliant though arrogant astronomer, Arvind Acharya, who is obsessed with his theory about microscopic aliens falling to earth. Stranded in a humdrum life, Ayyan decides to amuse himself by weaving an outrageous fiction around his ten-year-old son’s genius, setting in motion a chain of hilarious events he is unable to stop. Meanwhile, a war is mounting between rival scientists at the Institute and a glamorous astrobiologist complicates matters further.
This is a witty comedy of manners that goes a significant way to establishing Manu Joseph in the front ranks of Indian fiction writers.
‘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’
(Peter Carty, Independent )
Manu Joseph’s satirical tale of an ostensibly new India still in thrall to its caste-ridden and sexist traditions is so much more than a mere comic caper
(Catherine Taylor, Guardian )
The finest comic novelists know that a small world can illuminate a culture and an age…with this sad-funny debut Joseph does just that
(Boyd Tonkin, Books to Light up Lazy Days, Independent )