The Children Act (Paperback)
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A brilliant, emotionally wrenching novel from the Booker Prize winner and bestselling author of Atonement about a leading High Court judge who must resolve an urgent case—as well as her crumbling marriage.
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.
At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.
Don’t miss Ian McEwan’s new novel, Lessons.
About the Author
IAN MCEWAN is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen novels and two short story collections. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.
One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Vogue, BookRiot
“Fantastically pleasurable.... Anything we want a novelist to do, he can do.... Unsurpassable.” —Chicago Tribune
“A svelte novel as crisp and spotless as a priest’s collar.... Another notable volume from one of the finest writers alive.” —The Washington Post
“Masterful.... Begins with the briskness of a legal brief written by a brilliant mind, and concludes with a gracefulness found in the work of few other writers.” —Meg Wolitzer, NPR
“Powerful.... Convincingly presents a complex woman in all her nuances.... A paragon becomes all too human in this aching tale.” —New York Daily News
“The first thing to do about Ian McEwan is stipulate his mastery. Anything we want a novelist to do, he can do, has done. His books are fantastically pleasurable. Their plots click forward, the characters lifted into real being by his gliding, edgeless, observant, devastating prose—his faultless prose.... Every novelistic mode is at his command, from the dark fabulism of The Child in Time to the vibrant sweep of Atonement to the modest but beautiful realism of his more recent work, On Chesil Beach, Saturday, Solar.” —Chicago Tribune
“Highly subtle and page-turningly dramatic.... Only a master could manage, in barely over 200 pages, to engage so many ideas, leaving nothing neatly answered.” —The Boston Globe
“It’s a joy to welcome The Children Act.... [The novel’s] sense of life-and-death urgency never wavers.... Profound.... You would have to go back to Saturday or Atonement to find scenes of equivalent intensity and emotional investment.” —The Wall Street Journal
“McEwan here crafts a taut morality tale in crystalline sentences.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A quietly exhilarating book.... Reveals an uncanny genius for plucking a resonant subject from the pages of lifestyle journalism and teasing it out into full scenes and then pressing them hard for their larger, enduring meanings.” —Los Angeles Times
“Powerful.... Heartbreaking and profound.... Skillfully juxtaposes the dilemmas of ordinary life and tabloid-ready controversy.” —People
“Smart and elegant.... Reminds us just how messy life can be and how the justice system, despite the best of intentions and the best of minds, doesn’t always deliver justice.” —USA Today
“A finely written, engaging read.... Poignant, challenging, and lyrical.” —The Huffington Post
“Haunting.... [A] brief but substantial addition to the author’s oeuvre.” —Entertainment Weekly, A-
“One of the most extraordinary, powerful, moving reading experiences of my life.... An utterly remarkable novel, delicately balanced, perfectly crafted, beautifully written.” —Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading
“Captivating.... Achingly romantic.... Entertain[s] some messy dualities: the limits of the law and the expansiveness of humanity, youth and age, guilt and innocence, the confines of religion and the boundlessness of free thought.” —The Houston Chronicle
“Fascinatingly complex and finally heartbreaking.... A quite beautiful work of fiction.” —The Times (London)
“Masterly.... As one begins an Ian McEwan novel—this is his 13th—one feels an immediate pleasure in returning to prose of uncommon clarity, unshowiness and control.... The best novel he has written since On Chesil Beach.” —The Guardian (London)
“As ever, McEwan achieves the rich, fine-grained realistic texture that makes his novels, sentence by sentence, a pleasure to read.” —The London Review of Books
“Swift and compelling, asking to be read in a single sitting.... So skillfully composed and fluently performed, it’s a pleasure from start to finish, one not to be interrupted.’ —Evening Standard (London)