Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

More holiday reading, this time in the form of Zoë Heller’s Man Booker (2003) nominated Notes on a Scandal (also published as What was she thinking?). And without slighting the book (it’s a great read) I’m a little surprised it got that nomination as it’s not that groundbreaking in a literary sense; erring more on the side of quality thriller.

What does make Notes on a Scandal innovative is telling the story in first person, where that person is not the true protagonist. Sheba, the female teacher who’s had an affair with a pupil should be the story, but she’s too messed up to string a sentence together. So it’s left to Barbara, the lonely, possessive, spinster colleague and friend to tell a story of which she’s not really a part, from a perspective that places her at the centre of everything. So rather than paint a (predictable?) picture of Sheba’s lust and corruption, we get the repression that somehow fuels Barbara’s own (to her unspeakable) obsession with Sheba.
People watching in Praia da Rocha……Airport Terminal better than a MyTravel Airtours cruise ship
The Mermaid’s purse by Katy Gardner……You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
If you found my comments useful, let Amazon know by clicking Notes on a Scandal and hitting the ‘yes’ button underneath their copy of this review. You may buy while you’re there.

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