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The Children Act (2014)

por Ian McEwan

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MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,5231654,472 (3.81)170
"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"--… (mais)
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Inglês (156)  Espanhol (4)  Alemão (3)  Holandês (2)  Norueguês (1)  Todas as línguas (166)
Mostrando 1-5 de 166 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Not a very remarkable book in any way. Think of the best Ian McEwan you’ve read, take out the most interesting moral dilemmas and plot twists, and leave in the first-world privileged white people problems. ( )
  Charon07 | Aug 25, 2021 |
Fiona Maye has had a long and successful career as a High Court judge. She works in the Family Division, deciding what is best for children in messy divorce cases and matters of religion. Professionally, Fiona is “almost ironic, almost warm,” and she is respected for striking a balance between compassion and distance, understanding and objectivity. But after years of parents “dazed to find themselves in vicious combat with the one they once loved” and children used as “bargaining chips,” Fiona has become ever so slightly disillusioned.

Fiona’s last case, involving conjoined twins born to Catholic parents, has left her exhausted. One evening, she is blindsided by her husband’s announcement that he wants to have one last love affair before it’s too late. Jack informs Fiona that they have not had sex “for seven weeks and a day,” and that they act more like siblings than husband and wife. He doesn’t want a divorce; he just wants her blessing before he proceeds. Jack thinks he is being reasonable and candid. Unsurprisingly, Fiona disagrees and asks him to leave.

Hurt and angry, Fiona moves on to her next case, that of a teenaged Jehovah’s Witness refusing a potentially life-saving blood transfusion. Adam is just three months shy of turning 18, and he insists that his choice is his own, unaffected by his parents or religious community. His doctors want to move forward with the operation against his wishes. Fiona, perhaps eager for a distraction, makes an unusual visit to the hospital. She finds Adam to be “lovely,” a true Romantic in the tradition of John Keats. Will Fiona understand what is best for this boy, and will she make the right decision?

John le Carré once wrote that spies are mistakenly thought of as “priests, saints, and martyrs.” That belief could also apply to judges, doctors, or anyone with a specialized and/or powerful profession. Such people do not magically arrive at the right answer but are influenced by their beliefs, education, history, and circumstances. And sometimes they screw up. Ian McEwan explores this by drawing an intimate portrait of an older woman with all her thoughts, memories, and emotions. The Children Act is so intently focused, so self-contained, that despite being 221 pages it feels much more like a short story. ( )
  doryfish | Aug 20, 2021 |
A novella, really - slight, incisive, with his usual withering insights into human nature and frailty. Lots of 'potted' legal/ethics situations make up much of the tale - this might have made just a good, smart short story without them. Not one of his major works, but an interesting read. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
great book for discussion ( )
  SusanWallace | Jul 10, 2021 |
Audiobook version.

The narrator does an excellent job, especially of Fiona, but when it comes to rendering the speech of the boy, she makes him sound petulant -- probably because of the slightly higher pitched, nasally voice she uses for him. Since the boy came across to me as so unlikeable, I had a bit of trouble understanding how Fiona could have been so affected by him.

A small thing, but there is a very minor part of the plot in which Fiona deals with a young man who is falsely accused by a young woman of rape. She only wants money for an XBox, is the conclusion of our sympathetic, well-balanced, female narrator. When coupled with McEwan's book Atonement (which I love), I think perhaps this author takes a special imaginative interest in these scenarios. Do all men worry about being falsely accused of rape by a woman, in the same way women tend to worry about actually being raped?

But if you've also read, say, Missoula by Jon Krakauer and are schooled up on rape culture (and you know that a man is far, far more likely to be raped by another man than to be falsely accused of rape by a woman), you might ask: Where are these fictional storylines taking us, collectively? I don't know if anyone's done a spreadsheet of it, but the books I read seem to feature disproportionate numbers of women 'crying rape'. I know that murders are also disproportionate in novels -- extreme events in general are disproportionate in novels -- that's why they find themselves in novels. But murder cases don't have the same problems as rape cases do in our current culture. When someone is murdered no one is claiming the murder victim 'brought it on themselves', or are 'faking murder to get money for an XBox', so I'd like to see excellent novelists explore the 'crying rape' storyline with all of this cultural baggage in mind. These days when I encounter a plot like that my enjoyment of the text drops significantly. ( )
  LynleyS | May 14, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 166 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Ian McEwan, master of obsession, fumbles with his latest, The Children Act
adicionada por Nickelini | editarthe Globe and Mail, Zsuzsi Gartner (Sep 12, 2014)
 
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 (2007).
adicionada por Nickelini | editarKirkus Reviews (Sep 9, 2014)
 
Although thrillingly close to the child within us, McEwan nonetheless writes for, and about, the grown-ups. In a climate that breeds juvenile cynicism, we more than ever need his adult art.
adicionada por Nickelini | editarthe Independent, Boyd Tonkin (Aug 26, 2014)
 

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Ian McEwanautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Torrescasana, AlbertTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"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"--

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