The Naipaul Test

As you may have heard, Sir Vidia is underwhelmed by women writers.

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”.

Now, I’m not going to get bent out of shape about this absurd sexism.  And I suggest no one else does either.  As Paul Theroux abundantly pointed out, Sir Vidia is a big-time douche.

But Naipaul also claimed he could tell within a paragraph if the writer was male or female.  The Guardian created a helpful little test to see if you could determine a writer’s gender based solely on a paragraph.

I scored one out of ten.  To make matters worse, I’d read most of the books from which the selections were taken, and count a few among my favorites of all time.

10 Responses to “The Naipaul Test”

  1. Seth Marlin says:

    I was three out of ten; so at best my answers are statistically consistent with random change. Worse for Mr. Naipaul, however, is that his was one of the samples I pegged as being from a female writer. Which is all well and good, but I’m sure his delicate masculine sensibilities will be offended.

  2. tanya.debuff says:

    I got 6/10, the first 6 right and then 4 wrong in a row. I missed on Margaret Atwood, too.

  3. JaimeRWood says:

    Ha! I also only got 3 out of 10. And I also thought Naipaul was a female writer. Serves him right, big sentimental sissy! :)

  4. I suck. 4/10! :-)

    I think that proves the point that a book should be judged by the writing and not who wrote it.

  5. […] I understand the desire to just laugh this off as his former editor does* (via OhEmGillie). And Brendan Lynaugh of The Bark is “not going to get bent out of shape about the absurd sexism&#82…. But I cannot. I cannot laugh at it.** I cannot roll my eyes at it. I cannot NOT get bent out of […]

  6. Laura says:

    5/10. Thought Naipaul was female.

  7. Tiffany says:

    5/10. I actually got all the last ones right when I stopped second guessing myself, but I got Naipaul right too and he was in the beginning, so what does that say?

  8. Kyle Dunn says:

    I guess a lifelong struggle with identity was good for something!

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