Raj Bhatt is having a week. It begins during a membership committee meeting for the Tennis Club, when his excitement over meeting potential new members who are Black—sparking his longstanding desire to make the club more diverse—leads him to make a racist comment, jeopardizing his own club membership. At the university, where he is a lecturer in anthropology, he delivers one of his favorite lectures, but his passionate conclusions offend a group of students who decide his views are anti-Christian. When a video of Raj’s teaching goes viral, igniting campus protests, his job security disappears. In a matter of days, Raj’s entire world spirals out of control–and he sees his life with new eyes. How has so much ambition, pride, confidence, and adventure led to this middle-aged status quo?
Pandya’s novel begins with what amounts to a whole-body cringe, and Raj’s missteps are often excruciating to witness. Though Raj is a devoted teacher, husband, and father, he gives himself little of the generosity he offers others, finding failure wherever he looks. Even the Tennis Club, his beacon of success, frays as Raj struggles with anger and regret. Filled with insight and humor, Members Only is a moving account of one man’s stark accounting of where he is and how he got there–and what might lie ahead.
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