Updike Warns; Choudhury Ignores

Many years ago, John Updike laid down, for himself, a few rules for reviewing books. The first of them was:

Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.

I suspect my friend Chandrahas makes that error when he complains of Patrick French’s biography of VS Naipaul:

French’s book is too sexual, and not textual enough.

So no, I don’t agree that French’s biography is “somewhat unbalanced”. It is just that Chandrahas’s expectations of the biography were different; and that is not French’s fault.