Ian McEwan has been around for a long time and the list of his literary achievements, to date, is a testament to his skill as a writer. In fact, it was a surprise to find that he has only has one Booker to his name (Amsterdam, 1998). He is a craftsman. His writing is succinct and controlled with central themes of trauma, estrangement and sexual deviancy recurring to some degree or another throughout his body of work.
In The Children Act, Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, is blindsided by her husband’s announcement that he wants her permission to indulge in an extramarital affair with a much younger woman. During this emotionally charged confrontation in the kitchen of their home, Fiona receives a phone call from her clerk. She must break the impasse between the medical profession and Adam, a seventeen year old Jehovah’s Witness and his parents. Adam has leukaemia and without a blood transfusion, which he and his family refuse to contemplate, he will die.
To help facilitate her decision, Fiona organises a visit to Adam’s bedside where she encounters an artistic and sensitive boy. The repercussions of her verdict and the strained relationship with her husband is the basis of the ensuing narrative.
I have always appreciate McEwan’s skill as a writer rather than as storyteller. He writes with such controlled precision that pivotal moments in a story or salient points in a character’s backstory, can be completely overlooked or at least underestimated. James Wood describes him as a “distinguished writer of prose” who is a master of contingency. Leading the reader one way while all the way planning to take them in a totally different direction.
Ratings: Claudia 2, Gail 4, Diane 3, Janet 3.5, Kim 3, Linda 4 , Margie 3, Nicola 2.5, Pauline 3 and Sandy 3.
Our next meeting will be 14/10/19 at 6:30PM at Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops) to discuss Normal People by Sally Rooney.
Hope to see you all there and happy reading!
We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.
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