Synopsis: Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.
At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.
Title: The Children Act
Author: Ian McEwan
Pub Date: 9th April 2015
“That the world should be filled with such detail, such tiny points of human frailty, threatened to crush her and she had to look away.”
Once upon a time, I read Atonement by McEwan and I got completely swept up in it. So much so that I was sure I’d read all his other works…
…Then life went on. The years passed. I went to university, did a Master’s, started working and the name Ian McEwan dwindled down to “huh? Yeah he’s that author of that great book I read but don’t remember much of”.
Shameful, I know.
Then The Children Act came out and I… well. I ran away from it. It just wouldn’t be the same and I’d hate it, and then he’d be the author of the book I hated.
Finally, 3 years later, I saw it on a friend’s (otherwise known as my personal library) shelf and decided to borrow the book…along with 5 others.
And I have just finished it.
And Oh. My. Freaking. Goodness.
Within the first page, I remembered just how much I love McEwan’s writing.
“A blend of desolation and outrage. Or longing and fury. She wanted him back, she never wanted to see him again.”
Sobering and masterfully written, The Children Act is not a court drama, nor is it a quick read without substance. This beauty is more like a character study, but a million times more interesting.
Packed full of hauntingly-beautiful passages that’ll make you stop short (this occurred once whilst walking – the people behind me were not impressed!), The Children Act will make you THINK. It is impossible not to consider what you would do had you been in the esteemed judge’s position.
“Her judgment must be ready for printing by tomorrow’s deadline, she must work. Her personal life was nothing. Or should have been. Her attention remained divided between the page in her hand and, fifty feet away, the closed bedroom door.”
I admit this probably isn’t a read for everyone. It’s quite literary and it’s not a fast-paced, thrilling drama. But, for me, it was nothing short of fascinating.
And now I’ve been reacquainted with the master writer, I will reinstate the promise made to myself once upon a time.
I WILL read more of McEwan’s work.