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VS Naipaul stirs another controversy

books Updated: Jun 04, 2011 02:04 IST
Hindustan Times
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Following Nobel Laureate VS Naipaul’s inflammatory comments against women writers, The Guardian has started an online quiz called The Naipaul Test.

In light of the 79-year-old author’s comments — that he could tell if a book has been written by a woman or man by reading just the first paragraph

The Guardian has listed first paragraphs of some books and asked readers to guess the author’s gender.

In an interview to the Royal Geographic Society, Naipaul also called women’s writing “sentimental” and said that no female author could be as good as him. He criticised authors such as Jane Austen, saying a woman’s world view is always limited.

The Twitteratti is unforgiving about these comments. “Naipaul says he can tell if a woman wrote something within a page or 2. I can tell within a sentence he’s a fool,” wrote animatedcardi. “If no woman writer is his equal, no problem but would Mr Naipaul name those contemporary male writers who are better than him,” wrote lyricist and author Javed Akhtar. “I think at this point the best thing to do with #Naipaul is ignore him. He has become such a bore,” wrote author Hari Kunzru.

The comments have put the controversial author back in the spotlight of scathing criticism, even from fans. “Sad to see generalisation-a form of intellectual laziness-in Nobel laureate,” tweeted brainpicker while rosannecash wrote, “...he must be intolerably stupid.” Another user, espiers, pointed out a funnier fall out. “Well, this certainly isn’t going to get V.S. Naipaul laid,” she tweeted.