Review: ‘The Children Act’

Review of Ian McEwan’s novel ‘The Children Act’.

The Oxford Culture Review

Ian McEwan is not an author to shy away from tackling contentious subjects, as shown in Saturday and Solar. His latest novel, The Children Act, turns to High Court cases where a family’s religious beliefs are pitted against the secular court and its representatives. The narrative follows a High Court judge, Fiona, interweaving her court cases with her ailing marriage. As she comes to a decision regarding the fate of a teenager refusing a blood transfusion on religious grounds, her husband Jack demands the opportunity for one final chance at passion with a stranger before old age.

At the centre of the novel is a teenage leukaemia sufferer and Jehovah’s Witness, Adam, who refuses to accept the treatment that could save his life. Choosing such an obviously controversial target could easily descend into tastelessness, but McEwan is a better writer than most who would try to tackle this…

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