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Rushdie sorry for Kaavya's shame

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) Celebrated India-born author Salman Rushdie says he feels sorry for the shame that befell teenage author Kaavya Viswanathan and hopes she can recover from the fall from grace.

The Booker Prize-winning Rushdie thinks Kaavya, who has been accused of lifting portions from two books for her debut novel 'How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life' is a victim of the publishing machine and her own ambition.

''I am sorry that this young girl pushed by the needs of a publishing machine and no doubt by he own ambition should have fallen into this trap so early in her career. I hope she can recover from it,'' Rushdie told CNN-IBN.

Rushdie, who wrote the 'Midnight's Children' and the controversial 'The Satanic Verses' that drew the ire of Islamic clerics and a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini for his death, refuses to buy Kaavya's claim that she committed an ''innocent mistake''.

The passages compared between 'Opal Mehta' and American author Megan McCafferty's 'Sloppy Firsts' and 'Second Helpings' are far too many and the similarities are too extensive, says Rushdie, who has not read Kaavya's book that had won her a 500,000 dollar deal from her publisher.

''You know, I haven't seen her book, but I have seen the passages that were compared between the two books. I must say I don't accept the idea that this could have been accidentally, innocently done,'' he says.

The Mumbai-born Rushdie, who stood by author Arundhati Roy when she was given a one-day imprisonment by the Supreme Court for contempt of court in the Narmada Dam issue a few years ago, says he would blame both the author and the publishers for the incident that has caused a storm in the literary world.

''But you know when I write a book it's my name on the book, and so I stand or fall by what I sign, and so must she.'' Kaavya's publisher Little, Brown recalled copies of 'Opal Mehta' from bookstores in the English-speaking world, including the United States, UK and India last week after McCafferty and her publisher rejected Kaavya's explanation and apology.


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