Members Only (Paperback)

By Sameer Pandya

Mariner Books, 9780358379928, 368pp.

Publication Date: May 12, 2020

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/12/2020)
CD-Audio (5/12/2020)
MP3 CD (5/12/2020)

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

First the white members of Raj Bhatt’s posh tennis club call him racist. Then his life falls apart. Along the way, he wonders: where does he, a brown man, belong in America?

Raj Bhatt is often unsure of where he belongs. Having moved to America from Bombay as a child, he knew few Indian kids. Now middle-aged, he lives mostly happily in California, with a job at a university.  Still, his white wife seems to fit in better than he does at times, especially at their tennis club, a place he’s cautiously come to love. 
 
But it’s there that, in one week, his life unravels. It begins at a meeting for potential new members: Raj thrills to find an African American couple on the list; he dreams of a more diverse club. But in an effort to connect, he makes a racist joke. The committee turns on him, no matter the years of prejudice he’s put up with.  And worse still, he soon finds his job is in jeopardy after a group of students report him as a reverse racist, thanks to his alleged “anti-Western bias.”
 
Heartfelt, humorous, and hard-hitting, Members Only explores what membership and belonging mean, as Raj navigates the complicated space between black and white America.
 


About the Author

SAMEER PANDYA is the author of the story collection The Blind Writer, which was longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. He is also the recipient of the PEN/Civitella Fellowship. His fiction, commentary, and cultural criticism has appeared in a range of publications, including the Atlantic, Salon, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Narrative Magazine. He teaches creative writing and South Asian and Asian American literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Members Only is his first novel.


Praise For Members Only

Praise for MEMBERS ONLY

“An intense, funny, and absolutely necessary novel about our current times. Accomplished storyteller Pandya has given all of us teachers a compulsive read for the days, the weeks, when we feel unmoored and even a slightly bit crazy.”
Weike Wang, author of Chemistry

“Is extremely enjoyable anxiety a thing? Because that’s how I felt as I sped through Professor Raj Bhatt’s very bad week. A vital, tightly-written dive into our current swirl of confusion over privilege and power.” 
Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World

“In Pandya’s tense, sly debut novel (after the collection The Blind Writer) a college lecturer faces accusations of racism and anti-American bias in a California suburb over the course of a fateful week. The taut, heartrending narrative offers deep insight into the ways the characters are shaped by racism. Pandya’s sympathetic portrait of Raj’s quest for acceptance will resonate with readers.”—Publishers Weekly

“A grand slam…Pandya’s writing here is smooth, clear, funny, and often subtly beautiful. Members Only is the thoughtful page-turner we need right now.”Booklist, starred review

 

“A crucial tale about belonging, ‘otherism’ and finding one's place, missteps and all . . . Pandya brings an authenticity to his subject's experience that unravels with introspective wonder.”
—Pat Battle, The Book Table
 
“Fresh, original . . . Pandya probes the difficult areas between black and white America with piercing humor and nuanced insight.”
—Linda McLoughlin Figel, {pages} a bookstore
 
“The angry, large-hearted, sad, laugh-out-loud book of our current moment. I won’t soon forget Dr. Raj or this clear-eyed, masterful novel.”
—Adlai Yeomans, White Whale Bookstore