The Children Act - Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan

The Children Act
2014, 242 pages

Fiona Maye, a respected High Court judge in the Family Division, is 59 and has no children of her own. To her surprise, her husband Jack expresses discontent with their sex life and decides to have an affair. While her private life is in crisis, Fiona has to make daily decisions on other people’s lives in her work, sometimes even on questions of life or death. One of these cases involves a 17-year-old Jehovah's Witness with leukaemia. He and his parents are refusing treatment because of their religious beliefs. That case and the judge's ruling on it make for very gripping reading.

In this beautiful, thoughtful story Mc Ewan succeeds in making even analytical material suspenseful. He interlaces his narrative with music and poetry references. ‘The Children Act’ is an intriguing novel that reveals the frailties of human faith and the human justice system.