As someone who opts to read few books written by straight white men, I’m the kind of reader Dr. Oliver Harding—a 56-year-old white male English professor who fears becoming obsolete and who would definitely make a point of capitalizing White here—would balk at. And yet, I agreed to trust Jha and spend approximately 300 pages inside his head, where I was privy to all his unsavory thoughts and opinions, as well as his inappropriate lust-fueled obsession with a younger female colleague: Ruhaba Khan, a bewitching Pakistani Muslim law professor. I found myself equal parts fascinated and repulsed by Oliver as he ingratiated himself to Ruhaba by way of her 15-year-old French-Muslim nephew, Adil. Set on a Seattle university campus in the days leading up to the 2016 election, The Laughter reads like a modern-day Lolita in academia. It’s a masterclass in pacing, tension, and beautiful writing. Wow!
—Anika, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA