Book Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act

This book I found in our staff room. Free preloved books on the long table! I chose three. Indeed The Children Act looked promising. Lots of good statements about it on the inside covers. Prize-winning author. British. Previously unknown to me. Religious questions. Banned blood transfusions. A day off. So – my interest was aroused enough to start it.

“London. Trinity term one week old. Implacable June weather.”  This is how the book starts. This also gives you an idea how McEwan likes to write. Short sentences. Staccato like at times. Certainly a bit different. As it turned out, I found the writing on the whole a little aloof, not quite as I had expected. You see I had been promised beauty and elegance. Even poignancy.

The characters were also a bit strange. They even did strange things. Things you would not expect. Ok, that could have been interesting. But it wasn’t. It was a little unbelievable. Ian McEwan tried to describe the inner thoughts and the past desires and actions of Fiona Maye, My Lady, but it left me thinking about how well he actually understands women. The whole story might have worked better, if an older high court judge had ruled over a young female’s future. But then that would have been a much-trodden-path.

It is in the end the story that saves the book. There is a climax in the middle and then a lull. If one gets past that lull, urgency to finish may occur – as it did for me. It will also set one thinking.

There were musical moments that harked back to my own past, even same pieces. Both sung and played. Music is a wonderful thing. Shared moments in music are indeed to be treasured. Moments beyond words. Nice to read about these.

So if you are interested in religious questions, marital problems, guilt and law cases, this book just might be one to go for. And then you can head for your hammock!

STARS: 3/5

PUBLISHER: Vintage Books


PAGES: 213

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