Babbler # 6476
posted 02 May 2006 01:16 PM
Young Author Faces 2nd Plagiarism Claim
BOSTON - A Harvard sophomore's novel, pulled from the market last week after the author acknowledged mimicking portions of another writer's work, appears to contain passages copied from a second book.
A reader alerted The New York Times to at least three portions of "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" that are similar to passages in the novel "Can You Keep a Secret?" by Sophie Kinsella.
While the plots of the two books are distinct, the phrasing and structure of some passages is nearly identical, the Times reported Tuesday.
In one scene in "Can You Keep a Secret," which was published by Dial Press, the main character, Emma, comes upon two friends "in a full-scale argument about animal rights," and one says, "The mink like being made into coats."
..."You know, I haven't seen the book, I've 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 or innocently done. The passages are too many and the similarities are too extensive. And I'm sorry that this young girl, pushed by the needs of a publishing machine and, no doubt, by her own ambition should have fallen into this trap so early in her career. I hope she can recover from it," (Salman)Rushdie said.
Viswanathan book deal raises more questions
Hovering over the controversy around Kaavya Viswanathan's plagiarism-riddled novel is the $500,000 question: How could a publisher risk all that money on a 17-year-old who had only a bare concept and had never written a book?
The answer just might be found on the copyright page of ''How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life." There it says: ''Copyright 2006 by Alloy Entertainment and Kaavya Viswanathan."
Alloy is the so-called book packager that helped the Harvard sophomore, now 19, develop the concept for her novel. Everyone involved insists she wrote every word, though Alloy president Leslie Morgenstein said in an e-mail that his firm ''helped Kaavya conceptualize and plot the book." Whatever the extent of its role, Alloy claimed half the rights, which according to publishing experts means that both Alloy and Viswanathan would have signed the contract.
From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004
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