.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How Kaavya Viswanathan Got Rich?

I don’t know what the record is for the highest advance received by an Indian author, but the $500K advance received by 19-year-old Kaavya Viswanathan should be right there at the top. Kaavya’s book hit the stands recently and is already receiving some good reviews. The book is about to be made into a movie as well. New York Times has an article about Kaavya, where the young author clarifies that the story is not based on her real life experience.

Ms. Viswanathan was born in Chennai (formerly Madras) in India and spent her early childhood in Britain. She and her parents, Mary Sundaram, a physician who gave up practicing to raise her daughter, and Viswanathan Rajaraman, a brain surgeon, moved to the United States when Ms. Viswanathan was in middle school. (As is sometimes customary among South Indians, Ms. Viswanathan took her father's first name as her last name.)

Sitting in a restaurant in Harvard Square, Ms. Viswanathan, small, with almond-shaped eyes and glistening shoulder-length black hair, wanted to make it clear that she was not Opal, and that despite the novel's details about upper-class suburban Indian immigrant life — the near-identical center hall colonials, the elaborate parties to celebrate the Hindu festival of Divali, the shifts in conversation between Hindi and English — the Harvard-mad parents in the book are not her parents.

"They've always been very good about not putting pressure on me," she said of her mother and father. "I mean, I adore them."

With such a good beginning, one would expect Kaavya to pursue a writing career, but she seems to be focused on making even more money by making it to Wall Street.

Ms. Viswanathan, who said she planned to become an investment banker after college, finished writing "Opal" during her freshman year, in Lamont Library at Harvard, while taking a full course load.

The Indian Edition of the book retails at Rs. 250.

Update: IBN Live has an interview with Kaavya.

10 Comments:

  • Hi,
    I am Kartik Kannan at Sulekha.com (www.Sulekha.com) and I'm writing to you about your blog. We are looking for content on real estate. If you are interested In writing for us on a payment mode or on a promotion model please get back to us. To know more visit this link www.sulekha.com/blogs/helpguide/#a6
    Cheers,
    Kartik Kannan
    Kartikk@sulekha.net
    Team Sulekha

    By Blogger Kartik Kannan, at 7:21 PM  

  • Thats an interesting read, I mean, the article not the book. Good for Kavya (and a little more reflected glory for Chennai). I may pickup a copy but I am strangely unable to relate to Indian English novels, more so with the NRI variety.

    Cheers
    SLN

    By Blogger SLN, at 7:49 PM  

  • @SLN,
    not all Indian English novels are bad.....this is primarily targetted at the youth / college going crowd.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 11:20 AM  

  • Hi Kaps

    I didnt mean that Indian english novels are bad but I am not able to relate to them as much as I can to a novel written in Indian language. I dont have problems with American or English authors though.

    Cheers
    SLN

    By Blogger SLN, at 4:55 AM  

  • ooops i just read this. looks like kaavya may be a copycat

    http://www.ibnlive.com/news/kiss--tell-opal-mehtajessica-links/8675-8.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 AM  

  • "Copycat" is a nice way to put it. I think her lawyers should use that word when negotiating a settlement.

    Foreshadowing of the fall in interview from The Hindu (Online edition, Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 )Usually novels by Indian American writers are more serious. Yours is a comedy. Are you a naturally comedic writer?
    Not really! The essays and pieces I've written before were more realistic pieces touching on current events and everyday life. Writing a funny piece was a first for me.


    ...if that.

    By Blogger RicoPole, at 8:42 PM  

  • On page 213 of McCafferty's book: "He was invading my personal space, as I had learned in Psych. class, and I instinctively sunk back into the seat. That just made him move in closer. I was practically one with the leather at this point, and unless I hopped into the backseat, there was nowhere else for me to go."

    On page 175 of Viswanathan's book: "He was definitely invading my personal space, as I had learned in Human Evolution class last summer, and I instinctively backed up till my legs hit the chair I had been sitting in. That just made him move in closer, until the grommets in the leather embossed the backs of my knees, and he finally tilted the book toward me."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 AM  

  • Just a comment… I was skeptical at first when I first heard about this whole matter but looking at the comparisons between the two books in question, it’s pretty clear that Kaavya in some way copied some phrases, just take a look if you don’t believe me (I got the comparisons off of a link in the NYTimes website)
    I mean I can’t believe she got paid $500,000 for this:

    Best Friend

    Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget’s braces came off and her boyfriend, Burke, got on, and before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors class.

    ‘’Sloppy Firsts,” page. 7

    Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla’s glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.

    ‘’Opal Mehta,” page 14

    The Bad Boy

    The other thing about Marcus is that crackheaded girls who don’t know any better think he’s sexy. I don’t see it. He’s got dusty reddish dreads that a girl could never run her hands through. His eyes are always half-shut. His lips are usually curled into a semi-smile, like he’s in on a big joke that’s being played on you but you don’t know it yet.

    ‘’Sloppy Firsts,” page 23

    Just about every girl, from the A list HBz to the stoner hoochies, thought he was sexy. The weird thing was, I didn’t see it. He had too-long shaggy brown hair that fell into his eyes, which were always half-shut. His mouth was always curled into a half smile, like he knew about some big joke that was about to be played on you.

    ‘’Opal Mehta,” page 48

    Personal Space

    Marcus then leaned across me to open the passenger-side door. He was invading my personal space, as I had learned in Psych class, and I instinctively sank back into the seat. That just made him move in closer. I was practically one with the leather at this point, and unless I hopped into the backseat, there was nowhere else for me to go.

    ‘’Sloppy Firsts,” page 213

    Sean stood up and stepped toward me, ostensibly to show me the book. He was definitely invading my personal space, as I had learned in a Human Evolution class last summer, and I instinctively backed up till my legs hit the chair I had been sitting in. That just made him move in closer, until the grommets in the leather embossed the backs of my knees, and he finally tilted the book toward me.

    ‘’Opal Mehta,” page 175

    Shopping

    Finally, four major department stores and 170 specialty shops later, we were done.

    ‘’Sloppy Firsts,” page 237

    Five department stores, and 170 specialty shops later, I was sick of listening to her hum along to Alicia Keyes, and worn out from resisting her efforts to buy me a pink tube top emblazoned with a glittery Playboy bunny.

    ‘’Opal Mehta,” page 51

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:15 PM  

  • Poor little rich girl! You deserve all the crap that is going to come your way. Harvard will not be happy! What a disappointment for Indians everywhere!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 AM  

  • Copying from someone else is bad enough, but copying from the likes of books with names like "Sloppy First" is tragically funny.

    Well, their goes her writing career. Hope she can still make it work with her investment banking career. :-)

    By Blogger Ary, at 9:37 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home