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The Children Act Hardcover – 2 Sep 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,267 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224101994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224101998
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 1,267 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"Compulsively readable... McEwan’s prose keeps its cutting edge and his books are the ones the reading public still crave… A masterly balance between research and imagination… One feels an immediate pleasure in returning to prose of uncommon clarity, unshowiness and control" (The Times)

"Classic McEwan… It’s a pleasure from start to finish, one not to be interrupted" (Guardian)

"A powerful, humane novel" (Evening Standard)

"One of the finest writers alive" (Sunday Times)

"McEwan writes as beautifully and elegantly as ever, his prose quintessentially English in its restraint, one meticulously chosen word hinting at depths of emotion" (Washington Post)

"A finely written, engaging read… Poignant, challenging and lyrical" (Sunday Express)

"A class act by one of our finest novelists." (Viv Groskop Red)

"A compelling moral dilemma [with] a moving and heartfelt denouement." (Tatler)

"Shows McEwan as a master of fiction." (Olivia Cole GQ)

"It is one most extraordinary, powerful, moving reading experiences of my life. It is an utterly remarkable novel, delicately balanced, perfectly crafted, beautifully written." (Alberto Manguel)


Ian McEwan will focus on the contested domains of religion and family life for his forthcoming novel, The Children Act, according to his publisher Jonathan Cape. Due to be published on 4 September 2014, The Children Act puts ideas of adult responsibility on trial with a plot that revolves around parents who are refusing treatment for their sick son because of their religious beliefs. The novel centres on the presiding judge at the high court, who is a woman. Speaking at last month's Oxford literary festival, McEwan described the denial of medical help on religious grounds "utterly perverse and inhumane", according to the Telegraph, arguing that "the secular mind seems far superior in making reasonable judgments". "There's an almost consumerist notion that the pursuit of individual happiness cuts across the interests of children," McEwan said. Citing cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics, McEwan praised the 1989 Children's Act, which enshrines the child's welfare as the "paramount consideration" in any court ruling, calling it a "remarkable and civilised piece of legislation". The novelist has long been suspicious of organised faith, telling the Believer in 2005 that he has "no patience whatsoever" with religion. "I'm not against religion in the sense that I feel I can't tolerate it," he said, "but I think written into the rubric of religion is the certainty of its own truth. And since there are 6,000 religions currently on the face of the Earth, they can't all be right. And only the secular spirit can guarantee those freedoms, and it's the secular spirit that they contest." According to McEwan's publisher, Dan Franklin, the new novel is "classic McEwan, demonstrating yet again his extraordinary ability to speak to both head and heart." The novelist launched a career which has combined critical acclaim and bestselling success in 1975, with a collection of short stories which touched on child sexual abuse, First Love, Last Rites. The Cement Garden was published in 1978, the story of a brother and sister who bury their mother in the cellar and leave civilisation behind. McEwan won the Booker for the first time in 1998 with Amsterdam, the story of two friends who plot each other's murder, and has been shortlisted a further four times. (The Guardian 2014-07-31)

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