The Children Act

Hardcover | September 9, 2014

byIan Mcewan

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A brilliant, emotionally wrenching new novel from the author of Atonement and Amsterdam.
 
Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child''s welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.
 
But Fiona''s professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah''s Witnesses. But Jack doesn''t leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case--as well as her crumbling marriage--tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

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From the Publisher

A brilliant, emotionally wrenching new novel from the author of Atonement and Amsterdam. Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. B...

IAN McEWAN is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including the novels Sweet Tooth; Solar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H.Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.51 × 5.98 × 0.93 inPublished:September 9, 2014Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345809629

ISBN - 13:9780345809629

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderfully Written and Thought-Provoking Protagonist Fiona Maye is a fascinating character. A High Court judge who presides over cases in family court to determine what is best for the child--or children--in question, she uses her intelligence and heart fully. Not surprisingly, her career ambitions have left her childless but, until recently, she's had a supportive relationship with her husband. In the present, she puts their relationship problems on hold to deal with a morally challenging case. McEwan is one of the few male authors I've read who's impressed me by writing convincingly from a woman's point of view. As usual, his prose is elegant, the topic of the novel raises penetrating questions, and the plot is so engaging that I read this book in a single evening.
Date published: 2016-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Children Act It is so sad to see an author of this brilliance fall into the cheap page turner ethos with a predictable story line and ending. Filthy lucra wins. What a terrible shame.
Date published: 2015-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dare yourself to read The Children Act. A wonderful read that leaves one thinking about what really matters, to one's self. Be prepared to feel and think.
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sensitive treatment Excellent creation of character and clear presentation of the British jurisprudence system. Also McEwan understands the entire process of artistic presentation of music.
Date published: 2015-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Wonderful This book was quite wonderful. Maybe because I work in the law field so it was more appealing to me, however, it wasn't dry or boring. It was detailed and classic. You will want to finish the book once you start reading it. Too good to put down!
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Rings True McEwan's gift with the English language is indisputable and the issues dealt with in The Children Act are both complex and timely.
Date published: 2015-02-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Skip This One I usually love Heather's Picks - but this one did not meet my expectations. I did not love the way it was written and some of the story lines were rather weak. I would skip reading this one.
Date published: 2015-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The judge adjudicates the Children Act, the affected parties interact. Ian McEwan is among the handful of wise and thoughtful writers now practising the art and craft of English language literary fiction. Several of his recent novels demonstrate his capacity to deal with profound, difficult and important questions. The Children Act is a piece of UK legislation designed to allow properly constituted authorities to decide the fate of a child below the legal age of consent when parents or guardians are unfit to care for the child or are about to decide on a course of action detrimental to the well being, even the life of the child. Ultimately a family court judge makes the decision. McEwan's leading character in this short novel is a female family court judge who must decide whether to intervene - to order a blood transfusion - to save the life of a very intelligent 17 year old youth with acute leukaemia. The youth is insightful, fully understands his alternative fates: death without transfusion, almost certain healthy life after transfusion and chemotherapy. The meat of the novel is the dialogue and emotional relationship that develops between the judge, whose marriage is unraveling, and the youth who is attracted to her by her intelligence and wit. It would spoil the pleasure for putative readers to reveal the ultimate outcome. Suffice to say that this is a first class novel, guaranteed to provoke deep thought. Five Stars.
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not enough! The story is actually quite good however the author - just like Judge Fiona - didn't go deep enough with the characters, leaving me somewhat disappointed and wishing for more. Overall was a good read.
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Just no. A god awful book. Not worth the time or money.
Date published: 2014-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Children Act I loved this very eloquent book, I enjoyed the law cases that were presided on throughout the book and how Fiona was drawn to compare her family drama and her husband's selfish demand for an extra martial affaire as a right of passage, and he felt that his honesty about his intent should be accepted by his wife with no repercussions to himself. I have to say I really hate this man and his whole demeanour and how callous of Fiona's feelings he was. All so he can have his cake and eat it to. Meanwhile Fiona has had some very emotional trying times and loses a young passionate friend to illness leaving her vulnerable to her husband's reestablishing himself in her life again. This is the only piece of the book which I wished had a different outcome, and Fiona found herself on a different path.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Had a bad hair day...Had a bad book day. I was very disappointed in this book. I was very excited when I ordered the book, but right from the get go, the book didn't go anywhere for me. It was almost as if the author was writing to just get it over with.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I also loved it! I was totally involved with the characters. It kept my attention to the end and I was not disappointed with the ending.
Date published: 2014-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! What can I say, I love Ian McEwan! Once again he captivated me with this new book! I have already passed it on to a friend and suggested others buy it.
Date published: 2014-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Almost... Ian McEwan has been a perennial favourite of mine. His novel, Saturday, remains the for me the best of the best. I delved into The Children Act with the usual relish. Thoroughly enjoyed the emotional and philosophical conundrums that the heroine faces. She is both a flawed and admirable character. Couldn't put the book down. And then the ending.... Just way too easy. A disappointing conclusion to a riveting read
Date published: 2014-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read overall I enjoyed this book overall, bit disappointed in the ending.
Date published: 2014-10-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not worth the time This is a very dreary book, with pedantic writing and joyless words. Predictable and boring. Fast read but not worth the hours.
Date published: 2014-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The children act. What a beautiful poignant book, very moving story, and very emotional' brought me to tears' superbly written' I recomend it to anyone' bravo ian-
Date published: 2014-09-21