Saturday, February 28, 2015

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

Ian McEwan's writing is measured, magical, and insightful. He has the ability to touch some truly tender human places while strolling by with his narrative, moving on to where the story will inevitably go. Judge Fiona Maye is a wonderful character, the driven female baby boomer who seems to engage in life from the distance of her work, always calculating the degree of her engagement, escaping her life by measuring and judging the dramas of others, until finally, drama erupts in her own living room in the form of a husband who longs for lost passion. And then there's the young character from her courtroom who wavers across the border between his world and hers, and entangles her in his own troubled reality. I was fascinated every step of the way, following the track of Fiona's thoughts and actions through her work and her personal life and the inevitable consequences that develop.
McEwan evokes a rich narrative atmosphere with an economy of prose that is amazing. The novel felt expansive though it was very short and the characters were richly three dimensional. The climax of this book takes place during a piano concert, where as the music is building, the drama of the story is also building. This was truly one of the most beautiful literary devices I have ever witnessed.
The audio version is superbly narrated by British actress, Lindsay Duncan.

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