Rules of engagement
Stabroek News
January 23, 2002

Dear Editor,

I wish to refer to a letter published in the 19th January 2002 issue of Stabroek News under the name of R. Sukraj.

The writer used the musings of a description of a character in a work of fiction against its author Ian McDonald on the ground that the "Hummingbird Tree" was 'autobiographical'. It may be useful for the writer to contemplate the following statement by the 1999 Booker Prize winner J.M. Coetzee in his review of V.S. Naipaul's novel. "Half a Life" in the 1st November 2001 issue of the New York Review of Books:'

"The vein of autobiography in Naipaul's fictional oeuvre runs deep. But the Naipaul selves do not have a simple relationship to their author: they are stages in a process of continual self creation and revision. W.S. Chandran is and is not V.S. Naipaul."

There are rules of engagement in these matters

Yours faithfully,

Miles Fitzpatrick, S.C.