The Children Act

The Children Act

eBook - 2014
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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.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, 2014
ISBN: 9780385539715
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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From Library Staff

“Judge Fiona Maye is at a difficult point in her marriage. Taking refuge in addressing other people’s problems in family court, Fiona extends herself more than usual, meeting a boy whose future is in her hands. McEwan is a masterful observer of human distress. With a simple story and flawed, genu... Read More »

A highly respected London judge hides her decision to separate from a husband who wants an open marriage, a loss that challenges her beliefs throughout a case involving parents whose faith forbids a life-saving transfusion for their son.

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Jan 14, 2016

Very thought provoking about moral issues. Well written and absorbing.

Jan 01, 2016

Interesting diatribes of the health decision of young adults, the influence of adults.
Well written as usual.
I found the marital parallel story is a bit artificial, as well as the part of the young boy following the judge outside of the city.

patcumming Aug 28, 2015

This is a highly thought provoking book that presents a number of moral dilemmas. Fiona is an multi-faceted character and the layers of ambiguity make this a good choice for Book Clubs.

Jul 02, 2015

I quite liked the spare writing in this little book. Fiona Maye is a leading high court judge handling cases in the family court. She has many years experience and is now asked to pronounce on an urgent case. After careful consideration she delivers a verdict that she is convinced best fulfills the Children Act directive to ensure the welfare of the child. Consequences always arise and, in this instance, the case is not over for her. Fiona has always been in control of her predictable ordered life but now she must come to terms and deal with upsetting upheavals. The story proceeds at a measured pace marching to an ending that I expected. For me, a satisfying conclusion to an engaging story.

Catmamakim Jun 22, 2015

This turned out to be a page-turner for me and I found the writing to be intelligent and morallly stimulating. I was somewhat disappointed by the ending which I found to be anti-climactic but this did not reduce the quality of the read regardless.

brianreynolds Jun 07, 2015

Not a big fan of Atonement, I was pleasantly surprised to find McEwan's The Children Act a delightfully delicate adventure into the dilemma of personal and social responsibility. With a careful brushstroke, he dispassionately paints the reader into several different corners from which the letter and the spirit of the law, the wisdom of age and the desires of youth, the rational appeal of competence versus the need in the end to act with passion and bravery—all of these things that trap the reader somehow appear with such simplicty and clarity that I both envy the writing and wonder, like Adam, if the protaginist won't stay with me for a very long time.

May 19, 2015

Wow! This novel will get you thinking about many important issues and the consequences of the choices regarding these issues. The ending will linger and not be forgotten.

Feb 15, 2015

Very enjoyable little novel, written more like a short story.

Feb 07, 2015

A judge in Family Court must rule on the case of a 17-year-old boy whose family refuses transfusions on religious grounds. At the same time her own married life takes a bad turn when her husband announces he wants an affair.

You must like legal stories to enjoy where this one takes you. The writing is as wonderful as always with McEwan but I longed for his always surprising ending to come quickly.

Jan 17, 2015

People are so self important that they want to describe the whole novel to everyone.......and
ruin the story for us all. Get a grip! STOP THIS.
I loved this novel. It has depth of feeling. McEwan is mostly always good.

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