Notes on a scandal by zoe heller, book review. available amazon based protagonist novel.

Most of the characters depicted in this story are not ones' I found particularly like-able, however that only seemed to add to the effectiveness of the story telling. Also despite no love loss between reader and the people contained within the novels pages, moments of empathy are not entirely lost.

As the history, situations and motivations of the characters are revealed you can see clearly how and why events unfold as they do, even if you would not ordinarily condone or understand their actions.

The premise of the running theme of the story is a relationship between a teacher and a student at the same school. I would stress that this is only one main thread of a much more engaging plot and is essentially the glue.

As you first delve into the book, the narrator is not the assumed protagonist which is important as it gives the feel of the story a much more realistic feel, the tone is honest and believable.

You get the sense your being let in on a secret and are gaining access to restricted information.

I would recommend this book.

This is the first book I have read by Zoe Heller but it will not be my last, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was hooked by chapter one.

Zoe Heller uses her extensive vocabulary well. character descriptions are also very well executed.

The story runs from back to front starting with the consequences at the end of the affair and leaving a lot of scintillating questions unanswered, keeping you hungry to discover the truth.

A tough subject cleverly written, I found myself laughing guiltily in places and probably not feeling as shocked as I should have been in others.


Praise for notes on a scandal.

'Outstanding, brilliantly understated and darkly funny'  Daily Telegraph

'I read it twice. Has the epic quality of Greek tradgedy and does what good fiction is supposed to do: remind us of what fools we are as we lumber through our lives. It would be sad if it wasn't funny, funny if it wasn't sad'  Gaurdian

'The best new novel I have read this year is Zoe Hellers Notes on a scandal. It's sharp, funny, moving - and elegantly written' Miriam Gross

'Equally adroit at satire and at psycological suspence, Heller charts the course of a predatory friendship and demonstrates the lengths to which some people go for human company'  New Yorker

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Comments 12 comments

Scarlet Scrivener 4 years ago

I love the film! I have wanted to read the book ever since seeing the interview with the author in the "extras" section of the DVD. I watch this one over and over again. The character development of both teachers is excellent. The set up for the unexpected is absolutely delicious. And, I love the way it is told with the narration and the shots of the older teacher's diary.

I'd love to know more about the setting of the story and more background on the characters.

Thanks for this hub! Sometime I'm going to run across a copy of this book, snatch it up and devour it!

Accolades and a vote up!


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MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

The film is well worth a watch, I saw it some time ago. I must take a look at the book as reading the story is usually better than watching it. Thanks for the review.


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wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K. Author

Thank-you for your comment drbj, I have yet to see the film, but have heard good things about it.


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K. Author

Thank-you for your comment Michael, I would recommend it.


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wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K. Author

Thank-you katie, I love a book with suspence too, trying to guess right up to the very last page. :)


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wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K. Author

Thank-you andromida, this really is a book worth reading, if you do get round to it, I would really like to know what you think. :)


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wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K. Author

Thank-you for your comment Jane, I have not seen the film but will at some point. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Haven't read the book yet but did enjoy the film. Mostly because of the acting artistry of Cate and Judi. They were superb.


Michael E. Horton 6 years ago

Have not read it yet.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Ewww sounds suspense filled, I like that and will give Scandal by Zoe Heller a go! Thanks :)


andromida profile image

andromida 6 years ago

I am not familiar with Zoe Heller's writings-but your review makes me feel I must read it. The last novel I read was Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol"-you also can give it a try.To me the weakest part of "the lost symbol" is the ending.Thanks wren :)


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Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Hi Wrenfrost,

It was interesting to read this as I've seen the film but not read Zoe Heller's book. In the film the characters were not very likable either...particularly the obsessed older teacher...yet they were fascinating and it was, I thought , extremely well done. 'Course it helped having Cate Blanchett and Judy Dench.

Thanks for the review....I'm keen to read this book now if only to see how much it differs from the film version.

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