Monday 15 January 2018

Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act The Children Act by Ian McEwan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version beautifully read by actress Lindsey Duncan. She dulcet tones were what kept me going throught this turgid tome. I thought it poor by McEwan standards (but then his other novels set the bar so high) until ***SPOILER ALERT *** his masterful ending brings shame to well-respected High Court Judge Fiona Maye as she realises that she has completely failed her responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of a young man whose case she handled in court because she failed to see how he had become infatuated with her and that her professional responsibility should also have continued to be applied outside of work. Working this relevation as an ironic mirror to the return of her husband to the marital home after a defunked affair with a younger woman, McEwan weaves his character study of a sad and pitiful, dysfunctional professional middle class childless marriage. Unfortunately, the middle sections of the book are as barren as their marriage. The moral, cultural, religious and legal issues in the cases the judge deals with grind and goan, the legal arguments come across as detached and never reach a passion that we have seen in novels such as Saturday. As always McEwan's research has been thorough, it just failed to translate into a gripping tale for this reader.

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