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Zoë Heller

Teoksen Notes on a Scandal tekijä

9+ teosta 4,458 jäsentä 196 arvostelua 13 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Zoe Heller has been a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a staff member of the London Sunday Times, the Times Supplement, Esquire, Vogue, the London Review of Books and The New York Times. Her 2003 novel, What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal, earned tremendous acclaim, including a spot on näytä lisää the short list for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The audio release coincided with the 2007 film adaptation, Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. She was born and educated in Britain and now divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and Bucks County, PA. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän
Image credit: Photo by David Shankbone (Cropped/Wikimedia Commons)

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

The Pursuit of Love (1945) — Johdanto, eräät painokset1,956 kappaletta
Granta 79: Celebrity (2002) — Avustaja — 145 kappaletta
Notes on a Scandal [2006 film] (2006) — Original book — 143 kappaletta
Granta 53: News (1996) — Avustaja — 124 kappaletta
Ox-Tales: Water (2009) — Avustaja — 70 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




The age of consent is an issue that can kick up a lot of controversy. In the US, it tends to vary between 16-18. Europe skews slightly younger, with most between 14-16. There's no hard and fast way to assess if someone is really "ready" to give knowledgeable consent, so you just have to set a standard and go with it. What is always inappropriate and often illegal is exploiting a relationship of power. So when Sheba Hart, an art teacher at an English school in Zoe Heller's Notes On A Scandal, begins a relationship with 15 year-old student Steven, she's clearly in the wrong. Sheba's story is told through the voice of fellow teacher Barbara Covett, as a manuscript that Barbara is writing in the wake of Sheba's deeds becoming public. At the beginning of the events that the book recounts, she's a bitter, lonely older woman who has had no real bonds with anyone besides her cat. When Sheba, lovely and ditzy, makes her teaching debut at St. George's, Barbara sets out to befriend the soon-overwhelmed younger woman.

Well, befriend isn't really the right word. She wants to become a necessary part of her life, the way she'd been closely enmeshed with a different younger woman years earlier who got married and will no longer speak to her. There's an implication that Barbara's interest is more than platonic, but I think making too much of a "repressed lesbian" angle is overstating the case. As I read it, Barbara's not trying to get into Sheba's pants, she's trying to get into her head and exert control over her. And the way Heller writes it (through Barbara's not-exactly-unbiased narrative voice), Sheba isn't exactly in control of her affair with Steven, either. The deeper Sheba gets in, the more he pulls away until he eventually ends it. And then it all comes tumbling down, leaving Sheba cast off from her family with no one to stand by her side. No one, that is, besides Barbara.

Heller has written a book with a lot of moral complexity. Barbara is certainly manipulative, but she's also desperately lonely, and is understandably very hurt when Sheba throws her over after she's had to put her cat down to go cavort with Steven. Fundamentally, she wants to be important to another person, which is something most of us want (although most of us aren't as manipulative as Barbara). Sheba is the one crossing the boundary with Steven, but she met her much-older husband when he was her professor in college, when she was only a few years older than her teenage lover, and Steven proves to be the party less emotionally invested in their relationship. Both women are predators, but neither is purely evil.

It's a book that may prove difficult for some people to read as it deals heavily with a adult-teenager, teacher-student relationship. Barbara, for all that Heller has given her some sympathetic qualities, is a negative character and given that the book is told from her perspective, I'd classify it as "dark" in tone. But it's undeniably compelling. Even though I watched the movie (years ago, when it came out) and remembered the "twist", as it were, I still found it interesting and enjoyable, in its own way, to read. I'd recommend it for people prepared for the subject matter.
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ghneumann | 105 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 14, 2024 |
It was very well done, especially as it related to loneliness and obsession, but for some reason I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have, and am not sure why.
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dvoratreis | 105 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 22, 2024 |
An unsentimental and compelling family drama about a political lawyer, possibly modeled after William Kunstler, who has a stroke and how his family reacts in various ways, particularly intensely by his distressed and furious wife, Audrey. I have friends who will say "but I didn't like the characters" to which the author replies in an interview in the October 1, 2008 issue of Time Out:
I read a review the other day that said, "Joel is the one charming character in the book, and we're left with this pain in the neck." And in one sense that exactly expresses what she's had to deal with all her life, being the less desirable companion to this charming, charismatic, fabulous man, who is also this gigantic egotist. It's quite hard work living with that kind of star. [...:] It's amazing how often, both giving readings in book shops or reading reviews on Amazon, or even reading supposedly sophisticated criticism, that charge arises: "You've written somebody that I don't like." And you want to say, well, how do you feel about Iago? I take umbrage at all that. [...:] I very strongly feel that the job of fiction is not to write admirable figures, but to imagine one's way into all sorts of people, often people who ostensibly at least are deeply unlikeable or unpleasant. The question is not whether you like them but whether you understand them.
… (lisätietoja)
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featherbooks | 80 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 7, 2024 |
A well written but ultimately not terribly absorbing story told by a 50 something misanthrope now self-exiled in America. He spent time in prison for murdering his wife though he was later acquitted, he's estranged from one daughter while the other has committed suicide, and he has at least 2 girlfriends to fuel his sex life. He's unpleasant, all the characters are in their different ways unpleasant. Why should I want to spend a rainy weekend in their company?
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Margaret09 | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 15, 2024 |



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