About the Author
Hometown:New York, New York
Date of Birth:July 7, 1965
Place of Birth:London, England
Education:B.A., St. Anne's College, Oxford, 1987; M.A., Columbia University 1988
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Notes on a Scandal based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Briefly: I admired the craft, but could not love the book. It wasn't that I didn't like any of the characters - that is not a prerequisite for me in a novel. But I didn't care too much what happened to them. And not much actually happens in the book that we don't know about the start. The plot has not moved on. It is a flashback telling of this 'friendship' between these two women, told by Barbara. But she doesn't know much of what has been going on until later on, so while she's telling us the story, she has to keep saying: Of course, at the time, I didn't know that Sheba was doing x and x. Which, for me, was more than a little annoying.Yes, of course, at the end of the day, it's not about Sheba and Connolly, but about Sheba and Barbara, and more about Barbara than Sheba. In her purported telling of the 'scandal' of Sheba, Barbara is in fact telling us about herself, her flaws and her failures in life. And it's done really well. But as she has so few redeeming features, it's hard to care and be moved or even fascinated about her plight, her loneliness etc.In short: Well crafted, but no suspense, hard to care.
Neither of the two main characters in Heller's novel are instantly likeable. The narrator, Barbara, tells the story of her friend - Sheba - and her affair with one of her pupils. Barbara is middle aged, lonely and desperate to make and keep Sheba the closest of companions. Through Heller's perfectly written character study, we grow to empathise with and root for Barbara, whilst never actually going as far as seeing her as someone actually desirable to have as a friend.Sheba, on the other hand, is an outgoing and confident character with a personality more youthful than her age. As she admits at one point, marrying an older man has kept her always feeling the younger member of her social circle.This is a story of adultery, and of more than one betrayal, but ultimately its message is that mistakes are easy to make. Frighteningly easy. Sheba is simply bumbling her way through life, never seeming to fully comprehend the depth of the hole she has managed to dig herself.The book is a fascinating study of relationships, what it means to trust somebody, what it means to love somebody and how very differently two people can view the relationship they have.