Saturday, December 27, 2008

Zoë Heller - Notes on a Scandal

After hanging on to this book for more than two years, I finally got round to reading this over the holiday break. This is a very slim book and was surprisingly easy to get through for a novel that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (my experiences with Booker reads are that they're always way too avant-garde and mind-boggling for me!). As unpleasant as the characters are, I must say that I did find this novel strangely compelling and intriguing. I am quite impressed that Zoë Heller has tackled an issue that could have served as mere tabloid fodder and has instead crafted a dark tale that is less about the scandal but more about the dynamics between two women that develops into a suffocating friendship because of one's obsession and loneliness. I thought this was really smartly written and the deliberate vagueness of the ending left the entire story open to interpretation by the reader. This normally drives me bonkers but I think for this instance, it actually adds to the story and drives home how wicked and delusional Barbara is for completely succumbing to this web of illusion that she has spun herself. I am now really looking forward to the film adaptation starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench - if it's anything like the book, it's going to be a great movie!