Tag: The Children Act

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

October 28th, 2014 — 3:28pm

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.44.45 PMThe Children Act by Ian McEwan– Mr. McEwan is a prize winning best selling author of more than 15 books. For his latest novel, he has chosen to write about an established British woman judge who sits on Family Court cases. She deals with many types of heart wrenching situations of broken marriages, custody disputes and other issues which often lead to delicate ethical dilemmas, and which are really quite fascinating in and of themselves. However, in this novel the good judge, frequently called, “ My Lady” is faced with a personal dilemma herself as her husband threatens their marriage by telling her that he wants to have an affair with a particular younger woman. It should be noted that this domestic situation is not the same one, which she confronts in her courtroom; nevertheless it has an impact on her and begins to intrude in her thoughts. She usually is able to shake them off and when she does focus on her work we are made privy to fascinating human dilemmas. There are Siamese Twins who have to be split with one to be destroyed so the other can live. There is the classical case of a teenager a few months short of his 18th birthday that has leukemia and requires a blood transfusion to save his life and put his disease in remission. Alas, both he and his parents are devout Jehovah Witnesses who believe that it is God’s will that one should never have infusion of blood. They firmly believe this even if the failure to so will almost certainly lead to a painful horrible death. In this case, there are repercussions, which will advance the story.

I personally find that Mr. McEwan uses excessive dialogue to explain and illustrate the emotional situations, which he has already clearly described. This includes his description of dramatic interactions between people and even the powerful effect of music which he spends pages describing. It is not that this book is excessively long, as it clearly is not. Nor is the book lacking emotional impact. Perhaps because the author has the ability to come up with so many riveting themes, that I frequently felt he did not need to dwell on points he had already made. I found myself imagining this story being acted out on the Broadway stage with a handful of great actors, which I suppose is a backhanded compliment to this novel.



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