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New Yorker Fiction Review #147: "A Life of Adventure and Delight" by Akhil Sharma

Issue: May 16, 2016

Story: "A Life of Adventure and Delight" by Akhil Sharma

Rating: $/Meh

Review: Second time I've heard from Akhil Sharma in the pages of the New Yorker fiction section, and while my memory is foggy about "We Didn't Like Him" (even reading my own review doesn't help (hey, it was three years ago)) I know that I didn't like this story too much better.

The main character Gautama isn't very likable, in fact he sounds kind of like a prick. I understand that he's dealing with some elements of sexual repression he's been saddled with through no fault of his own, other than that of being born Indian and having moved to the U.S.

What Sharma seems to have shown us here is the thin end of the wedge of a growing habit of sexual deviance that will likely continue all throughout Gautama's marriage to Nirmala, a socially-appropriate mate whom he begins to court during the story.

I don't know. Doesn't seem like anything ground-breaking or worth writing home about, here. The only bright spot, the only moment of humanness when we start to feel anything like friendliness toward Gautama is when he makes a prostitute laugh by asking her if he can cup her breasts while she jumps up and down. Showing us this side of Gautama earlier in the story would have been a wise move, and made me a lot more attached/interested in what happens to him.


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