Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Packaging Gaffes

I have been following the Kaaya Vishwanathan's story about a story with interest. Thanks to Joe Malchow's, post on the subject I discovered Ivywise - a hothouse for grooming kids for Ivy League schools. Apparently Vishwanathan was packaged by them.

I haven't had a chance to real the Opal Mehta story but seems from reviews like a harmless and uninspired piece of teen chick-lit with a desi flavor for zing. Successful teenage writers are not all that uncommon, but when a seventeen year old wins a half a million dollar book contract they come under intense public scrutiny as Ms Vishwanathan is.

Carson McCullers was twenty one when she wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. There is nothing adolescent about her theme or her masterful handling of it. Vishwanathan's youthful celebrity is unlike McCullers' in every possible way and for that she is fated to be hounded by charges of "plagiarism" and those of "packaging" herself and her book for the big league.

What a sad and early end to a literary wannabe tale. Moral of the story : Better to arrive late without pomp and circumstance than early only to go down in a sudden blaze of glory.

1 comment:

grumpy said...

Although nothing very glorious about this Vishwanathan blaze ... ignominious rather.

A blaze of ignominy -- and while there are many flavors of Schaudenfreude in the coverage of this scandal -- its her name on the cover and on the check.