Cosmopolitan by Akhil Sharma

I’m really starting to enjoy these short stories, they’re bite size packets of enjoyment.

Cosmopolitan was as unusual and charming as the rest, and again, a little bit sexual.

In this tale, we meet Gopal. Loneliness is riddled within him, as both his daughter and wife have fled to other countries. With family friends drifting away and his embarrassment to be around the ones who take pity on him, Gopal finds himself utterly isolated.

Why get dressed?

Why go out?

Why cook when it’s only for one?

Motivation is at an all time low. Until his neighbour, Mrs Shaw, knocks on his door and asks to borrow his lawnmower.

Gopal finds himself infatuated by his neighbour. In his pursuit of Mrs Shaw, he finds himself reading Cosmopolitan in the hope he’ll appear confident and be seen as an interesting lover/partner.

Whilst both characters are of a similar age, they each have a different approach to love at an older age. Gopal is a classic romantic, with his thoughts reflecting those of a teenager, in the way they become completely preoccupied by their new love, every waking moment is absorbed by thoughts of their relationship. In contrast, Mrs Shaw keeps a level head when it comes to her emotions and approaches their affair timidly and practically.

Whilst the ending feels one page too short and the story had a similar feeling to other short stories; whereby the plot never feels substantial enough, I was impressed by the amount of emotions and topics Sharma explored in 49 pages.

Watching Gopal transform from a recluse back to an active member in the community was a delight to read, and reminded me the power that love can have on one’s life.

Cosmopolitan is out now in paperback and eBook versions from Faber & Faber.

Until next time, Chloé x

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