Friday, December 15, 2006

Zoë Heller's favorite books

The novelist Zoë Heller listed a few of her favorite books for The Week magazine (and, with further elaboration on her reasons behind the picks, in O, The Oprah Magazine).

Here are two of Heller's selections:
Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer

Set in South Africa during the apartheid regime, this novel is about the dawning of a young white woman’s political consciousness. All the author’s usual virtues are on display here: cool intelligence, an alarmingly acute understanding of human nature, a capacity to write about the Big Issues without preachiness or the least sacrifice to her art.

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

The heroine of this excellent, not-quite-coming-of-age novel is a moody 12-year-old tomboy, stuck in a tiny Southern town, who fantasizes that she can escape the confines of childhood and of home by running away with her brother and his new wife. I happened to be 12 myself when I first picked up this novel. It felt as if someone had read my rather hysterical journal and transformed it into lucid literary prose.
Click here to read about Heller's other picks in The Week, and here to read the Oprah-ific version.

A film adaptation of Heller’s novel Notes on a Scandal--once(?) titled What Was She Thinking? in the U.S.--will be released later this month. I very much enjoyed the book and remember it as a very funny satire. But from the look of the trailer, the film version is anything but humorous.

--Marshal Zeringue