Title: Notes on a Scandal
Author: Zoë Heller
Pub Date: 2003
My Rating: ★★★★☆
View on Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker Prize, Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal is a darkly compelling novel that explores the taboo subject of pupil/teacher relationships, obsession and betrayal.
From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George’s history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit. Barbara’s loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba’s chief defender. But all is not as it first seems in this dark story and, as Sheba will soon discover, a friend can be just as treacherous as any lover.
‘Brilliant, nasty, gripping’ Zadie Smith
‘Compelling, dark, sexy’ Observer
‘Superbly gripping. One of the most compelling books I’ve read in ages’ Daily Telegraph
‘Deliciously sinister’ Daily Mail
Deliciously dark and compelling book. It was fascinating to read about such scandalous events from a perspective of an observer that is at the same time honest and deceptive about the events. Barbara at times gives us an honest insight into her life and emotions, and at times presents it all in deceptive perspective that may cloud our judgement of her person.
Notes on a Scandal is a story of the scandalous affair of art teacher and pupil. Books on such topic are hard to read and judge, they mess with the reader. I believe that Sheba’s actions were inexcusable, but still, at times I felt sorry for her, and that messed with my head. It was sad to read about Sheba’s obsession, and if you imagine that her lover was of age, the story would have completely different dimension.
I appreciate how the story was written, it was so easy to get lost in the scandal, in the story of strange friendship. I enjoyed Barbara’s narration, her straightforward approach to people and relationships, even though she was harsh and bitchy.
This book caused so many mixed and conflicting emotions in me, and this makes this book so fantastically compelling. If you’re looking for some dark story, that will make you feel iffy and dangerously curious, this is the one.