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Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller

Notes on a Scandal (2003)

by Zoë Heller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,452702,511 (3.62)162
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English (68)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
"This flimsy tale, this little psychological masterpiece, continues to disturb long after its last page." - Joanna Briscoe

Very addictive, quick read. Very good writing. Also, totally disturbing!
Loved it!! ( )
  KatDes | Nov 20, 2015 |
The best book with an unreliable narrator that I have read. Morally ambiguous and you're never quite sure who the predator is, and who the prey. ( )
  Lukerik | Oct 8, 2015 |
I want to read more contemporary fiction (usually never read anything that isn't at least a century old!), and this sounded good, so I just checked it out from the library. Hope I have the chance to finish it before I have to return it!
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
So many things were hard to read for the fact it's so spot on about things.. the comment about the Rosary being one of the many :-) ( )
  RuthieD | Dec 16, 2014 |
“But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette."

This was a surprisingly multi-layered book. Initially thinking that this is a novel about tabloid titillation concerning an affair between a middle aged,mother of two,teacher and one of her male pupils it becomes so much more, a critique on class and loneliness which then turns to stalker-ism.

Bathsheba Hart is a middle class 41 year old woman of beauty who starts work as a pottery teacher in a London comprehensive turning male heads as she does so but whilst her male colleagues merely admire from a distance 15 year old Steven Connolly,the son of a taxi driver living on a local council estate, who makes his move thus starting an affair between the two. However, the story of the affair is not revealed by one of the participants but by Barbara Collett,a sixty year old spinster and history teacher who befriends Sheba.Barbara's life is empty shared only with an ageing cat who begins to live her life through Sheba, revelling in the latter's rolls behind the pottery kiln and al fresco sex on Hampstead Heath with Steven marking so much so that when she decides to write down an account of the affair she marks every significant event with a gold star. Sheba is married to a controlling man 20 years her elder and has a frosty relationship with her own mother and 17 year old daughter, who when forced to make decisions for herself generally seems to make poor ones regressing to a love-sick teenager,mooning outside Steven's bedroom window,ringing him late at night and becoming ever more desperate as the affair begins to wane.When news of the affair becomes public and the daily press begin to report its more lurid details Barbara takes on the mantle of self-proclaimed guardian and spokesperson of the poor sinner who is shunned by her own family thus cementing her control over Sheba, a prospect that she seems to relish.

On the whole the novel's language is crisp and sparing and not without an element of pathos that it is not hard to note that Heller's background is in journalism.Generally I felt that all the characters were well written.

In the past I've read both Lolita and Death in Venice where I've felt sorry for the young victim but in this case I certainly fail to feel that Steven was in any way harmed by having an affair with an older,more experienced woman in fact part of me couldn't help thinking, lucky sod! This double standard is actually remarked upon within the book so is not perhaps that surprising really but it still feels odd to have a woman make the point. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Nov 26, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zoë Hellerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Larry and Frankie
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March 1, 1998
The other night, at dinner, Sheba talked about the first time that she and the Connolly boy kissed. (Foreword)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Originally published in the UK and elsewhere under the title Notes on a Scandal, this book was also released in the USA under the titles What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal and then Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141012250, Paperback)

When the new teacher first arrives, Barbara immediately senses that this woman will be different from the rest of her staff-room colleagues. But Barbara is not the only one to feel that Sheba is special, and before too long Sheba is involved in an illicit affair with a pupil. Barbara finds the relationship abhorrent, of course, but she is the only adult in whom Sheba can properly confide. So when the liaison is found out and Sheba's life falls apart, Barbara is there...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When Sheba Hart joins St George's as the new pottery teacher, lonely Barbara Covett senses that she has found a kindred spirit. But Barbara is not the only one drawn to Sheba. Before long Sheba is involved in an illicit affair with a pupil. Barbara is powerless to stop Sheba from pursuing her foolhardy course of action. But when the liaison is found out and Sheba's marriage falls apart, Barbara is loyally standing by, ready to provide succour.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141039957, 024195455X

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