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The Children Act Audiobook

The Children Act

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Publisher's Summary

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding 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 30 years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful 17-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital - an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

©2014 Ian McEwan (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (593 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Clark 10/09/2014
    M. Clark 10/09/2014 Member Since 2013

    Clarky

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    "A KIND NARRATIVE"
    If you could sum up The Children Act in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, thought provoking.<br/>


    What other book might you compare The Children Act to, and why?

    Apple Tree Yard, only because it deals with a professional woman, who outwardly has her life under tight control.


    Have you listened to any of Lindsay Duncan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Lindsay Duncan is perfect although when portraying a 17 year old she is a touch patronising.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Who judges the judges?


    Any additional comments?

    McEwan always educates with his books and this is another example of exceptional writing along with scrupulous research. I think Ian McEwan must be a kind and thoughtful man.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaggy 10/05/2017
    Kaggy 10/05/2017 Member Since 2013

    Will read anything within reason.

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    "Who is the ultimate judge?"

    This is a fascinating and realistic story following the life of Fiona, an experienced and mature female judge as she works her way through the moral maze of the family courts. Many of the situations cited are based on real life cases that most people will know and recognise and the legal arguments used to conclude them are compelling reading. Besides dealing with the mind boggling complexity of her daily work, Fiona also has to cope with the news that her husband plans to leave her for a younger woman and her understandable hurt and rage at his betrayal.
    As with many of the situations described, the main case is made difficult by the strongly held religious beliefs of the litigants and every reader will have a strong view as to how they see the case should be decided. There is tension in this story but this is not a typical courtroom thriller and is all the better for this.
    I admit I did consider the work of the family court as being so much easier that the criminal court (nobody goes to prison after all). This novel convinced me that my view was ill-founded and left me with respect for the legal profession who are somehow supposed to sort out the mess we make of our lives while at the same time remaining fallible to their own personal troubles.
    Lindsay Duncan has to be one of the top narrators in her profession and this was a beautiful performance completely appropriate for the subject matter. I was moved by this story as I always am by Ian McEwan.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirstine 01/04/2017
    Kirstine 01/04/2017
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    "Beautifully written and read"

    A thought-provoking novel that delves into the question of whether the welfare of a child overrides the religious beliefs of parents. The story focuses on a case heard by family court judge, Fiona Maye, involving a teenage boy who needs a blood transfusion to save his life when the family adhere to a religion that forbids such treatment. I found this part of the novel the most interesting. A parallel story involves the marital problems of the judge and illustrates how her personal life impinges on her handling of the case. Both threads involve decisions that encompass questions of morality and human rights.

    Lindsay Duncan has a lovely reading voice that adds to the pleasure of fine prose.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farah 13/11/2016
    Farah 13/11/2016
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    "Should eighteen be the age of consent?"

    Ian McEwan at his best; stylish, sensitive and very sharp. The cool -not cold - analytical public voice of the protagonist, a respected circuit judge, who as a woman with a successful career has understandably mixed feelings about her childless state gives way to a more intense and troubled private voice. Her husband's announcement of his intention to commit adultery with his naturally much younger research assistant gives rise to such anger in her that her being is changed; so changed that it effects every aspect of her life and judgement.

    The Children Act touches on , as usual in his writing, many different ideas and an almost profligate number of plot possibilities, all of which lend an air of excitement to the experience of listening.

    ,Though it is a short novel he manages to differentiate his characters and to delineate his landscapes with the lightest of touches; the dichotomy of the dryness and gossip of the world of the legal professions are caught wonderfully well. All of which nothing to the series of moral and intellectual dilemmas and failures in which his esteemed judge finds herself mired. A wonderful book, a must read.

    Well no, not necessarily a read, because listening to Lindsay Duncan's delivery of the voices of Fiona as she travels through the stages of a not entirely understood journey is superb. The ironies of how children act are greatly enhanced!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ushma 27/07/2016
    Ushma 27/07/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "A compelling and insightful read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Children Act to be better than the print version?

    As I've only listened to The audio version, i can't make a comparison.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Children Act?

    I'd say the beginning of the novel, when Fiona May's husband Jack, a professor in History, suddenly announces he wants to have an affair With a 28 year old statistician.


    What about Lindsay Duncan’s performance did you like?

    I liked her dilivery, and her ability to do male voices without sounding too silly.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, the final few paragraphs. Without giving too much away, fiona May gets her chance of redemtion, although this is also rather frustrating as it is almost at Adam's expense.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first time I've read anything by Ian McEwan, and I was impressed. What I liked was that the novel tackles some controversial issues whilst giving the reader an insight into the world of law. Fiona May is a high court judge who works in the family division. Her preoccupation with her career is invaded when her husband Jack announces he wants to have an affair. Just as her confidence in her work and herself are thrown into question, she is asked for an emergency court order: a teenage Johova's witness is lying ill in hospital, and is refusing a blood transfusion. The novel is written in the third person, and so the narrator is inside Fiona's mind, observing each and every thought. Rather than concentrating purely on the marriage crisis, mcEwan focuses on the legal technicalities of Fiona's world — everything is seen in terms of the law; this is quite possibly her downfall.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ROBIN 24/07/2016
    ROBIN 24/07/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "The guys a genius"

    Ian McEwan is always a great read with some of his books just brilliant. This is one of those for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. T. Two 22/06/2016
    Mrs. T. Two 22/06/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "Superb"

    A story that I've thought about long after I finished reading it. Skilfully weaving its way around want and consequence, it is both poignant and powerful. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boledylocks 17/06/2016
    Boledylocks 17/06/2016 Member Since 2012
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    "Poignant"

    The things we do and say have an unknown and undesired effect by their interpreters. McEwan's books always lead me to introspection and Lindsay Duncan's eloquent enunciation corrects my mistakes.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer London 26/04/2016
    Amazon Customer London 26/04/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    Thoroughly enjoyable read. Gripping narrative. Raises interesting dilemmas that challenges your own thinking. Ian McEwan at his best. This book is a must read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Insley UK 09/04/2016
    J. Insley UK 09/04/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "Great bookclub read/listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Children Act to be better than the print version?

    My bookclub read this two months ago. I didn't have enough time to finish it so listened to the audible version in the last few hours while doing other stuff and so got it finished in time. Another member of the club has very bad eyes, and the fact it was on audible meant she could listen instead of reading and take full part in the discussion. So I wouldn't say it was better, but it has certain advantages in particular circumstances.


    Any additional comments?

    The content covered by the book was a great subject for bookclub discussion and one element of the law discussed by a barrister in the book became national news the day after our meeting. All very fresh and topical.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Jane
    Darwin, Australia
    08/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Packs a memorable and rewarding punch"

    McEwen confronts the reader with a thought provoking issue presented with compassion and skill.

    When should the state intervene in a family decision which has been based on strongly held religious beliefs: in this case, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Adam, almost a legal adult, passionately, idealistically, agrees with his parents that, although dying from leukaemia, he must not accept a blood transfusion. Fiona, a judge, herself caught up in a personal crisis relating to the meaning of her marriage, fidelity and betrayal, must make a ruling on this matter.

    This is a dynamic listen, beautifully read by Lindsay Duncan. It is concise, raw, disciplined. The language rich and melodious. The characters live, each travelling paths that the listener identifies with, participates in. What would I do? How do I feel about what happened?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Daniela
    Monza, Italy
    08/05/15
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    "A fascinating read, a bit disappointing in the end"

    Great reader. Wonderful incipit. Just a bit disappointing in its ending, but surely worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • lynn
    ADELAIDE, Australia
    15/01/15
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    "Another Superb Audiobook from Ian McEwan"

    Always a brilliant commentator through his fiction of contemporary society Ian McEwan has produced a poignant insight into the judicial process when it comes to dealing with families and children in difficulty.The parallel story of the dilemmas facing the judge add another dimension to this tale. There really couldn't be a better narrator than Lindsay Duncan who with all her acting experience fills the story with passion and brings the individuals alive. Certainly one of my favourite audiobooks.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Minza Brown
    Canberra
    04/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "compelling"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book and thought that Lindsay Duncan was an excellent choice for narration. The story is compelling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ian C Robertson
    South Australia, Australia
    25/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Welcome Back!"

    I have struggled with the last few McEwan titles although I have been a long-time fan (ever since I first read Amsterdam). This is a welcome return to Amsterdam form. I do not know if my familiarity with the legal themes helped with this perception, but it certainly did not hurt. In fact, there were times when I thought a person who was not intimately familiar with the English common law system and the precedent system particular to the United Kingdom (which is different in nuance from the US, for example), might have missed some of the subtleties of the narrative. It made me wonder if I have missed like subtleties in recent books (say about the publishing houses referred to in Sweet Tooth) and thereby misjudged them. In the end, I ignored the nagging doubt and settled back to enjoy the book. I don't think a legal background is a prerequisite
    I thought Lindsay Duncan's read a very good one; not unlike Carole Boy's reading of Atonement and Juliet Stevenson's reading of Sweet Tooth. I suspect that whomever chooses Mr McEwan's narrators has a preference. For my part, I would not argue with that. The one constant in the three titles that I've mentioned is the high standard of the narration. This time (and with Atonement, notwithstanding my second time doubts), the content and the performance were a par.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jack
    20/04/15
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    "Very moving"

    A story that gives you a look inside a judges mind and personal life. About how huge decisions for the court are made. The book was really interesting, captivating and moving. Narration was great and overall I definitely recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anna
    O'Connell, Australia
    23/11/14
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    Story
    "Excellent audiobook!"

    I was so glad to find an audiobook that was both quality literary fiction and beautifully narrated. An intelligent and thoughtful story. Best I've had in a long time!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Geoff
    Napier, New Zealand
    12/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Absolute Gem"

    I read and listen to quite a lot of books. I usually don't write reviews. I feel compelled to do so here, This book is fantastic. The narration is superb, The book is only short but the story and the writing are memorable. I don't always like Ian McEwan. He can be pretentious and put out stuff that relies on reputation. This is different. This will help cement his reputation. There will have to be a special book out there if this one is headed off at Booker Prize time!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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