Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | September 15, 2014

    Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



    There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$17.50
List price: $25.00
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Children Act

by

The Children Act Cover

ISBN13: 9780385539708
ISBN10: 0385539703
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $17.50!

 

Staff Pick

Ian McEwan's The Children Act tackles a very touchy subject these days: religious freedom and all the ethical, moral, legal, and criminal ramifications therein. Fiona, a High Court judge, must rule in a case involving a Jehovah's Witness family, in which the almost 18-year-old son is on the very brink of death unless given an immediate blood transfusion. Clearly, McEwan has thoroughly researched this issue, and his depiction of the family's position is spot-on. Fiona is at a crisis point in her marriage, and this distraction only makes her job more difficult. While the reader will likely feel secure that Fiona's ruling is the correct one, sometimes life spins out a string of unanticipated consequences, and then, what good is hindsight? McEwan is a masterful writer and barely 25 pages into this book, I was newly awed at his ability to exquisitely articulate even the vaguest and most fleeting emotions. His immaculate insight into the human condition is astounding.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Ian McEwan's newest is a beautiful exploration of the distance we create between ourselves and other people and the irrevocable damage it causes. How can we move through life, the novel asks, from the unshakeable belief in the rightness of things in adolescence, into the gray areas of adult life, without shutting our gates and filling our moats with dragons and water? The book itself is short, but the questions it asks are the kind you will spend the rest of your life trying to answer.
Recommended by Lizzy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A brilliant, emotionally wrenching new novel from the author of Atonement and Amsterdam

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.

But Fiona's professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. But Jack doesn't leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case — as well as her crumbling marriage — tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

Review:

"The 1989 Children Act made a child's welfare the top priority of English courts — easier said than done, given the complexities of modern life and the pervasiveness of human weakness, as Family Court Judge Fiona Maye discovers in McEwan's 13th novel (after Sweet Tooth). Approaching 60, at the peak of her career, Fiona has a reputation for well-written, well-reasoned decisions. She is, in fact, more comfortable with cool judgment than her husband's pleas for passion. While he pursues a 28-year-old statistician, Fiona focuses on casework, especially a hospital petition to overrule two Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions for Adam, their 17-year-old son who's dying of leukemia. Adam agrees with their decision. Fiona visits Adam in the hospital, where she finds him writing poetry and studying violin. Childless Fiona shares a musical moment with the boy, then rules in the hospital's favor. Adam's ensuing rebellion against his parents, break with religion, and passionate devotion to Fiona culminate in a disturbing face-to-face encounter that calls into question what constitutes a child's welfare and who best represents it. As in Atonement, what doesn't happen has the power to destroy; as in Amsterdam, McEwan probes the dread beneath civilized society. In spare prose, he examines cases, people, and situations, to reveal anger, sorrow, shame, impulse, and yearning. He rejects religious dogma that lacks compassion, but scrutinizes secular morality as well. Readers may dispute his most pessimistic inferences, but few will deny McEwan his place among the best of Britain's living novelists. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"McEwan, always a smart, engaging writer, here takes more than one familiar situation and creates at every turn something new and emotionally rewarding in a way he hasn’t done so well since On Chesil Beach." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Review:

"Irrefutably creative....With his trademark style, which is a tranquil mix of exacting word choice and easily flowing sentences, McEwan once again observes with depth and wisdom the universal truth in the uncommon situation." Booklist, starred review

Synopsis:

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family court. 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 — and encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

About the Author

IAN McEWAN is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including the novels Sweet Tooth; Solar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Shannon Geiger, October 6, 2014 (view all comments by Shannon Geiger)
When I read that the Children Act was about a British judge faced with a very difficult decision while dealing with an apparently crumbling marriage, and it was by Ian McEwan, I knew I needed to read it. And Mr. McWean doesn't disappoint.

The book is relatively short, but stays with you. There is very little conversation between the characters. The book is more of an internal meditation on what Fiona Maye, the judge, thinks or feels about what is going on. Some may found it off-putting, but it made the story telling even more profound for me.

I do not want to give too much of the plot away, but Fiona Maye is a Family Judge in England and is married to a professor, who informs her that he would like to have an affair and still remain married to Fiona. She dismisses the idea as preposterous and asks him to leave. Seven weeks ago, she had a very difficult decision to make regarding separation of conjoined twins. And just as she is getting over that, she receives notice that there is a petition waiting for her from a hospital who wishes to give a 17 year old a blood transfusion, which is against his religious beliefs. He is a Jehovah's Witness.

The story centers on Fiona's decision and the ramifications of the decision on her and on the boy whose life hangs in the balance.

This is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time. Not only for its content, but for its beautiful, poetic language and imagery.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
The Lost Entwife, August 2, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
There are three types of books I enjoy reading and, as a result, there's generally three types of authors that go along with those books. Sometimes an author will cross over and write something that dabbles a little bit (or jumps completely into) one of those other two types of books, but generally speaking, they stick to what's been done before under their name. One of those types of books (and authors) I really enjoy employs beautiful language and a storytelling ability that transcends everything else. When I read this type of book I can feel my world view expanding and my thoughts and ideas and preconceptions being challenged and tested. Ian McEwan writes books that not only deliver a sucker punch to my gut, but makes me grateful for being there to get punched in the first place. THE CHILDREN ACT delivered yet another punch and, while it didn't hurt as much as ATONEMENT or SOLACE did, the after-effects are still rocking me a bit.

There are really two stories happening in THE CHILDREN ACT. One story deals with the marriage of Fiona Maye and the bomb that's dropped into her lap by her husband of 30-odd years. The other story deals with the legal system in England, specifically those cases which, repeatedly, brought to mind the old stories of Biblical Solomon that I was taught as I was growing up. You know the cases - the separation of twins that will lead to the death of one of them; the determination of which parent takes the child home when, quite frankly, neither may deserve it, and finally, the case the book centers around, the battle between religion and medicine.

This second part of the story is a big part. It trumps even the issues within Fiona's marriage, but rather than completely overshadowing them, it brings details like the discussions and interactions of Fiona and her husband into delicate, crystal-clear view. Everything seemed so sharp and the case had me on such pins and needles that everything else just seemed to poke and prod at me in all my weak spots. If it was affecting me, the reader, in such a way, man...my imagination goes crazy on how it would have affected anyone living this in real life.

McEwan is a masterful storyteller, there's no doubt about that. In the pitch I received for this book, the writer said he experiences awe and envy at the ability that McEwan has with words. There is absolutely no doubt that McEwan's vocabulary and, more importantly, his perfect execution of that vocabulary, makes anything he write a masterpiece. It's such an added bonus when the story lives up to it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385539708
Author:
McEwan, Ian
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
literary fiction;law
Publication Date:
20140909
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.56 x 5.94 x 0.93 in 0.92 lb

Other books you might like

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  2. The Flamethrowers
    Used Trade Paper $9.00
  3. The Interestings
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. How Music Works 1st Edition
    New Trade Paper $20.00
  5. The Goldfinch
    New Mass Market $14.00
  6. The Daughters of Mars
    Used Hardcover $8.95

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals

The Children Act Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385539708 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Ian McEwan's The Children Act tackles a very touchy subject these days: religious freedom and all the ethical, moral, legal, and criminal ramifications therein. Fiona, a High Court judge, must rule in a case involving a Jehovah's Witness family, in which the almost 18-year-old son is on the very brink of death unless given an immediate blood transfusion. Clearly, McEwan has thoroughly researched this issue, and his depiction of the family's position is spot-on. Fiona is at a crisis point in her marriage, and this distraction only makes her job more difficult. While the reader will likely feel secure that Fiona's ruling is the correct one, sometimes life spins out a string of unanticipated consequences, and then, what good is hindsight? McEwan is a masterful writer and barely 25 pages into this book, I was newly awed at his ability to exquisitely articulate even the vaguest and most fleeting emotions. His immaculate insight into the human condition is astounding.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Ian McEwan's newest is a beautiful exploration of the distance we create between ourselves and other people and the irrevocable damage it causes. How can we move through life, the novel asks, from the unshakeable belief in the rightness of things in adolescence, into the gray areas of adult life, without shutting our gates and filling our moats with dragons and water? The book itself is short, but the questions it asks are the kind you will spend the rest of your life trying to answer.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The 1989 Children Act made a child's welfare the top priority of English courts — easier said than done, given the complexities of modern life and the pervasiveness of human weakness, as Family Court Judge Fiona Maye discovers in McEwan's 13th novel (after Sweet Tooth). Approaching 60, at the peak of her career, Fiona has a reputation for well-written, well-reasoned decisions. She is, in fact, more comfortable with cool judgment than her husband's pleas for passion. While he pursues a 28-year-old statistician, Fiona focuses on casework, especially a hospital petition to overrule two Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions for Adam, their 17-year-old son who's dying of leukemia. Adam agrees with their decision. Fiona visits Adam in the hospital, where she finds him writing poetry and studying violin. Childless Fiona shares a musical moment with the boy, then rules in the hospital's favor. Adam's ensuing rebellion against his parents, break with religion, and passionate devotion to Fiona culminate in a disturbing face-to-face encounter that calls into question what constitutes a child's welfare and who best represents it. As in Atonement, what doesn't happen has the power to destroy; as in Amsterdam, McEwan probes the dread beneath civilized society. In spare prose, he examines cases, people, and situations, to reveal anger, sorrow, shame, impulse, and yearning. He rejects religious dogma that lacks compassion, but scrutinizes secular morality as well. Readers may dispute his most pessimistic inferences, but few will deny McEwan his place among the best of Britain's living novelists. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "McEwan, always a smart, engaging writer, here takes more than one familiar situation and creates at every turn something new and emotionally rewarding in a way he hasn’t done so well since On Chesil Beach."
"Review" by , "Irrefutably creative....With his trademark style, which is a tranquil mix of exacting word choice and easily flowing sentences, McEwan once again observes with depth and wisdom the universal truth in the uncommon situation."
"Synopsis" by , Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family court. 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 — and encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.