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October 2017: Society > The Children Act / Ian McEwan - 3***

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6004 comments The Children Act by Ian McEwan
The Children Act – Ian McEwan
Book on CD narrated by Lindsay Duncan
3***

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge who presides over cases in family court. She is highly regarded for her intelligence, sensitivity, and knowledge of the law. She is called upon to try an urgent case. A child and his parents are refusing life-saving treatment due to religious beliefs, and the hospital wants the Court to mandate that the treatment be given. His condition has deteriorated, and time is of the essence. But while Fiona is dealing with this heart-breaking legal case, her personal life also demands attention. The decisions she makes will have consequences for all.

I like the way that McEwan explores hidden emotions and the effects of those feelings on the characters’ decisions and actions. Fiona is trained to consider both sides, and to make decisions based on the evidence and the constraints of law. But she is human, after all, and humans frequently let emotion cloud their decisions. Try as she might to restrain her feelings, Fiona cannot entirely escape them. In the course of the novel Fiona faces several moral and ethical dilemmas; the decisions she faces in court are influenced by her personal life, and vice versa.

I was interested in the situation from the outset, partly because I recently retired from working at a major medical center in a pediatric hospital. Healthcare professionals are faced with these kinds of decisions more often than you might think. But McEwan lost me as the novel progressed, and when it ended I felt like I was missing something. This is the fourth novel by McEwan that I’ve read, but the first that isn’t also a selection for my F2F book group. I really enjoyed the discussions on those other novels; they helped cement the works in my memory. As I write this, it’s been a few days since I finished the book, and I have already lost details of it.

Lindsay Duncan does a fine job narrating the audio book. She has good pacing and great skill as a voice artist. I believed her when she was voicing Fiona, and I believe her when she was voicing Adam. 5***** for her audio performance.


LINK to my review


message 2: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments I’m so hit and miss with McEwan! This one looks like more of a miss.


message 3: by KateNZ (last edited Oct 22, 2017 07:03PM) (new) - added it

KateNZ | 2502 comments Nice review - sums up a lot of how I feel about the McEwens I've read... But I've put this on my TBR as I think I'll pick books about lawyers as part of a challenge next year, and I don't want to forget about this one.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6004 comments KateNZ wrote: "Nice review - sums up a lot of how I feel about the McEwens I've read... But I've put this on my TBR as I think I'll pick books about lawyers as part of a challenge next year, and I don't want to f..."

I'd re-read To Kill a Mockingbird if I needed a book about a lawyer before I'd read this one.


message 5: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8846 comments I enjoyed this one, and went to two different discussion groups on it. He had a lot of interesting things to think about. I generally do not care for this author, but I greatly appreciated this work.


message 6: by Denizen (new) - added it

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Amy wrote: "I enjoyed this one, and went to two different discussion groups on it. He had a lot of interesting things to think about. I generally do not care for this author, but I greatly appreciated this work."

I liked McEwan's older works but haven't cared for two of the later novels I've read (Nutshell and On Chesil Beach). This one sounds more like Saturday so I may still give it a try.


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