The Children Act by Ian McEwan

children actThe Children Act by Ian McEwan

Nan A. Talese, September 2014

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

The Children Act is a short, thoughtful character study of Fiona Maye, a High Court judge in London who grapples with her own marital difficulties while dealing with a few major cases that involve children and religion, notably a hospital’s application to transfuse a 17 year old leukemia patient who refused because he is a Jehovah’s Witness.The focus on character is quite good, and it’s quite evident how years of being a lawyer and judge shape Fiona’s worldview and thought processes. It makes it difficult for her to handle her own marital crisis:

          Her emotional tone, as she sometimes referred to it, and which she liked to monitor, was               entirely novel. 

But Fiona’s marital troubles do not occupy the bulk of the book: McEwan spends most of this short novel describing Fiona’s work on two major cases involving families and religion. It’s difficult to say more about such a short work, but I enjoyed the novel for its characters and its precise writing.



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