Selma Cordoso’s Kitchen Sink Mutinies is one of the stories published in the London Short Story Prize Anthology, having been shortlisted in the 2017 competition. She tells us a bit about the tale.
The story explores the possibility, that our conservative selves are built around tiny oppressions occurring in our daily lives. Here the conservative Mrs Sharma, buried in domesticity, is married to the liberal-minded Mr Sharma. Except Mr Sharma is a bully. He is an intellectual and sexual bully. Mrs Sharma responds to her repressed self by becoming ever more intolerant of people around her. One summer, a young French woman moves into the house next door, and Mrs Sharma voyeuristically devours a new and exciting world, unfolding; one of libertine pleasure and boundaryless sexuality. Mrs Sharma’s own longings begin to unravel. Is it possible that stolid conservative exteriors are just a front for our more vulnerable selves? And what good are liberal values, if they disenfranchise those we think of as less worthy intellectually?
Extract from Kitchen Sink Mutinies
Mr and Mrs Sharma eventually settled down to dinner in front of the television, and Mrs Sharma said to Mr Sharma, ‘What about that African lady in house no. 3. She keeps to herself doesn’t she?
‘Her name is Louise and she keeps to herself because she’s busy. She’s a primary school teacher,’ he told her, popping a handful of rice into his mouth.
‘Busy? There was a time when there was real solidarity between Indians and Blacks. Not anymore. Each one for themselves now.’
‘I don’t remember such a time. They were always too Black for us, weren’t they?’ Mr Sharma said finally, picking up a tumbler to pour some water in his glass.
Mr Sharma ejaculated again on Mrs Sharma that night. He told her to lie still on her stomach, and crouching on top of her, weighed down by the bulk of his body, he rubbed his penis on her until she heard his breathing grow laboured and raspy, and felt the cold spitting of semen into the small of her back. Collapsing next to her, Mr Sharma said, ‘If it matters that much to you, I’ll ask Louise round for dinner tomorrow evening. I’ll do it first thing in the morning.’