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The Laughter

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Sonora Jha, Ph.D. is an essayist, novelist, researcher, and professor of journalism at Seattle Un... Read More

Product Description

Sonora Jha, Ph.D. is an essayist, novelist, researcher, and professor of journalism at Seattle University. Her last book was How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family, published by Penguin Random House India in 2021. She also wrote the novel Foreign, which tells the stories of farmers' suicides in India. Dr. Jha's op-eds and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Seattle Times, The Establishment, DAME, and in several anthologies. She grew up in Mumbai and has been chief of the metropolitan bureau for the Times of India and contributing editor for East magazine in Singapore. She teaches fiction and essay writing for Hugo House, Hedgebrook Writers' Retreat, and Seattle Public Library. She is an alumna and board member of Hedgebrook Writers' Retreat, and has served on the jury for awards for Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, and Hugo House.

Dr. Oliver Harding is long settled into the routines of a divorced, aging academic. But his quiet life is upended by his new colleague, Ruhaba Khan, a dynamic Pakistani law professor.

Ruhaba unexpectedly ignites Oliver's long-dormant passions, a secret desire that quickly tips towards obsession after her teenaged nephew arrives to stay with her. Drawn to them, Oliver tries to reconcile his discomfort with the worlds from which they come, and to quiet his sense of dismay at the encroaching change they represent-both metaphorically and in Ruhaba's spirited engagement with the student movements on campus.

After protests break out demanding diversity across the university, Oliver finds himself and his beliefs under fire, even as his past reveals a picture more complicated than it seems. As Ruhaba seems to fade in and out of reach, Oliver reacts in ways shocking and devastating.

Sonora Jha has created a complex character both in tune and out of step with our time, an erudite man who first inspires and then challenges our sympathies. As the novel reaches its shocking conclusion, Jha compels us to re-examine scenes in a new light, revealing a depth of loneliness in unlikely places, the subjectivity of innocence, and the looming peril of white rage in America.

An explosive and tense work of fiction, The Laughter is a fascinating portrait of privilege, radicalization, class, and modern academia that forces us to confront the assumptions we make, as both readers and as citizens.

Sonora Jha expertly inhabits the perspective of a man so terrified of the old world slipping away, he can't see the ground shifting beneath his feet. A deliciously sharp, mercilessly perceptive exploration of power, The Laughter explores how 'otherness' is both fetishized and demonized, and what it means to love something-a person, a country-that does not love you back.Lush, chilling, and admirably complex, The Laughter is wonderful: A book full of sly wisdom, cutting insight, and heart-pounding suspense.Sonora Jha's The Laughter takes the old suffocating male narcissist of Coetzee's Disgrace and Nabokov's Lolita and gives him new, previously unexplored dimension with a modern dissection of the Whiteness at his core. Dr. Oliver Harding is the best type of narrator-one whose rich character makes his profound flaws fascinating on the page, and author Jha's inspired prose channels him as if possessedThe Laughter is a brilliant, dangerous novel. What Sonora Jha has done in this razorblade-tense story is create one of the most infuriating, compelling, and complex characters I've read in a long time, a man so at war with himself he threatens to come apart at the seams. Jha is an expert chronicler of the way civility and privilege can often mask such immense, ruinous rage, and what begins as a tale of a professor's infatuation with his colleague soon spirals into something far more sinister, a cascade of individual and institutional malice.

Product Details

Title: The Laughter
SKU: BK0473937
EAN: 9780670098101
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover

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