Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

An old spinster teacher narrates her obsession with fellow teacher Sheba Hart, who is having an affair with her 15-year-old student.

Notes on a Scandal is very fast read, well written and possessed of a keen insight into the psychology of a human vampire. I read the book because I quite enjoyed the movie with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, and I was not disappointed.

Nor was I completely blown away, but my familiarity with the story was probably what kept me from being truly sucked in. Heller’s book is a worthy addition to the British gothic genre, and she can hold her own with Patricia Highsmith and Barbara Vine. I’m certainly hoping for more from her.

7 thoughts on “Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller”

  1. I definitely had Cate Blanchett & Judi Dench in my mind when I read the book, but that wasn’t a bad thing, as it can be sometimes when you read the book. And I thought the movie was really well done & a superb adaptation.

    That’s scary, Bybee 😉

  2. Judi and Cate were fabulous. I agree that the movie was very well done overall — in some ways, in fact, superior (which is unusual; the book most often trumps the movie). Example: In he book, having Barbara narrate long passages of dialogue that had taken place between Sheba and her boyfriend (or husband) was rather clumsy.

    But — and here’s a big but — why, oh why, did the powers that be feel it was necessary to soften the ending for the movie? I won’t go into details for those who haven’t seen it, but honestly … why did they have to go all Hollywood? I was really disappointed by that.

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