I have not yet read any book by Nobel prize winner, Naipaul but his growing sense of criticisms on the literary scene keeps interesting me to pick up his books – perhaps, to know his worth as a writer.
In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.
Of the interview, what shocked me of the many responses was his claim that he could easily detect a book by a woman writer only by reading some few paragraphs. He actually said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”
To butress his point, he said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too”.
I am completely taken aback with Naipaul’s thoughts and responses and I may want to know what you make of this. Would you agree with him? Would you disagree with him? Have you read any book by Naipaul? Is he that good that even Jane Austen cannot match up with him?
See an overview of his responses here.