Follow the eccentric, cantankerous, utterly charming Professor Chandra as he tries to answer the biggest question of all: What makes us happy?
“Searingly funny, uplifting, and wonderful . . . Professor Chandra is as unbending a curmudgeon as one could wish to find scowling from the pages of a novel.”—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Summer Before the War
Professor Chandra is an internationally renowned economist, divorced father of three (quite frankly baffling) children, recent victim of a bicycle hit-and-run—but so much more than the sum of his parts.
In the moments after the accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes but his life’s work. He’s just narrowly missed the Nobel Prize (again), and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas.
All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor, he should follow his bliss. Professor Chandra doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Praise for Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
“Professor Chandra is a wonderful character—stodgy, flawed, contentious, contemptuous—yet vulnerable, insecure, lonely, repentant, and ridiculous enough to win our sympathy. . . . In the end, Balasubramanyam’s novel is a sort of Christmas Carol for a new age.”—NPR
“Impressively, Balasubramanyam . . . balances satire and self-enlightenment [in] a surprisingly soulful family tale that echoes Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections in its witty exploration of three children trying to free themselves from the influence of their parents.”—The Guardian
“Funny from start to finish . . . Spending time with Professor Chandra feels like you’ve been in therapy, in a good way.”—Irish Times
“Funny, affecting . . . Chandra is a delightful creation: peevish, intolerant, intellectually exacting, unwittingly eccentric, nerdy, needy yet lovable. The book, like its picaresque hero, is a one-off.”—The Sunday Times
In his follow-up to In Beautiful Disguises, Balasubramanyam demonstrates with insight and a dash of humor that it's possible to turn one's life around after everything goes wrong. Perfectionist Cambridge economics professor Chandra is a supposed shoe-in for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics, but someone else gets the award, and shortly thereafter the professor is hit in a bicycle hit-and-run and has a heart attack. Divorced for three years, he misses his ex-wife who's now remarried to a Colorado psychiatrist. Meanwhile, Chandra's oldest son, Sunny, is in Hong Kong, having rejected his father's economic theories and set up a successful Institute for Mindful Business; his radical, socialist daughter Radha refuses to communicate with him and forbids the family to tell him where she is living; and youngest daughter Jasmine, academically adrift, gets involved with drugs. Things change when part dare, part bribe Steve, the husband of Chandra's ex, arranges for the professor to take a three-day self-awareness course at the Esalen Institute retreat center. Despite resistance to such a place, Chandra is genuinely transformed though perhaps a bit too easily. Balasubramanyam makes a winning case for how meditation, restraint, self-reflection and owning one's character flaws can bring joy and satisfaction to life.