On April 15, Viswanathan wrote 259 words for the Times of India about her favorite books. She mentioned that she was currently reading Zadie Smith’s On Beauty — “I like it a lot” — and she expressed her admiration for the works of Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse, Henry James, Jane Austen, the Brönte sisters, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Dorothy Dunnett, and Ian McEwan — hardly the stuff of mass-market chicklit. At school, she wrote, she keeps up with the belles lettres “by reading all the books that are short-listed for the Booker,” a reference to the Mann Booker Prize for Fiction, a prestigious award for novelists from the British Commonwealth and Ireland.
The article also quotes her as saying she really liked Kazuo Ishiguro, when interviewed by UniversityChic.com
But one author Viswanathan never mentioned was Megan McCafferty. And while McCafferty’s books aim at a young audience and contain romance, few would describe them as “old children’s books” or “romance novels.” If McCafferty’s books had “spoke[n]” to Viswanathan “in a way few others did,” she kept it to herself.
In another detailed article, Shane Wilson talks about how the book might have come through from the genesis of an idea to its entry into the bestseller list. Wilson claims that books by debutant authors pass through different hands, and that some of the content might actually be thrown in by others.
It is therefore quite possible that there is some truth in Kaavya’s apology. When she said, “I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel, ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,’ and passages in these books”, she might have really meant what she said. Namely: I didn’t write those passages. And I didn’t even know there was a Ms McCafferty. Only when I was nailed down did I realise that it is not such a good thing to get others to write your novel.
The Crimson reports that Random House have called the author’s apology “deeply troubling and disingenuous.” Well, seems like there’s going to be some serious fun!
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