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  • Published: 15 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781846574191
  • Imprint: Audiobooks
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Length: 6 hr 16 min
  • Narrator: Lindsay Duncan
  • RRP: $32.99

The Children Act

A brilliant, emotionally wrenching new novel from the author of Atonement and Amsterdam.

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 thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-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.

  • Published: 15 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781846574191
  • Imprint: Audiobooks
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Length: 6 hr 16 min
  • Narrator: Lindsay Duncan
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen books. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.

Also by Ian McEwan

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Praise for The Children Act

Emotionally wrenching and visceral.


A class act by one of our finest novelists.

Viv Groskop, Red

A svelte novel as crisp and spotless as a priest's collar.

Ron Charles, Washington Post

A dazzling tapestry. Another magnificent work by McEwan, important and meticulously crafted.

James McNair, National

Prose of uncommon clarity, unshowiness and control . Masterly

Kate Kellaway, Observer

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.

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

A gripping new novel which brings into question morality, religion and the very nature of life itself.

Hunts Post

A compelling moral dilemma [with] a moving and heartfelt denouement.


A brave and enormously interesting subject.

Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday

Beautifully told with pared-down emotional honesty, this 13th novel from the Booker Prize-winner is fiercely clever and incredibly moving.


Pacy and gripping, with a fascinating premise. McEwan skillfully brings complexity and depth to the characters.


Shows McEwan as a master of fiction.

Olivia Cole

McEwan masterfully weaves a gripping personal story.

Peter Donaldson, Gazette (Colchester)


Mail on Sunday

A short novel of great subtlety and tenderness.

UK Human Rights

Executed in his trademark elegant prose and is evidently meticulously researched.

Carla McKay, Daily Mail

Incredibly moving, intriguing and quite perfect as piece of fiction.

Bath Chronicle

Yet another worthy addition to his canon.

EasyJet Traveller

A great writer. One of the most acute chroniclers of modern life and its discontents ... The Children Act is both gripping and highly topical.Entirely entrancing

Andrew Marr

I feel that both Fiona and the boy somehow sort of transcended naturalistic character

Mark Ravenhill, Saturday Review

McEwan brings to the analysis of justice a distinctive combination of literary skill, empathy and legal knowledge. A welcome addition to the class [of novels about judges].

David Pannick QC, The Times

The small morning scenes between husband and wife are superb.

Catholic Herald

Moving, sad and delicate.

Joanna Kavenna, Prospect

True to life [as well as] being well-written.

Catherine Taylor, family solicitor, Latest Homes

Very deft, urgent and morally plangent.

Lewis Jones, Oldie

Impeccably crafted.

Stephanie Cross, Lady

Every word counts: one has the sense of a complicated piece of music played by a master soloist.

Christina Hardyment, The Times

He offers the reader a masterful study of a mind devoted to fairness. The Children Act is also a fascinating, painstakingly researched look inside the judicial process. Conveyed in crisp prose, this attention to detail elevates the moral conundrums.beyond the sensationalism lesser authors might have pursued. It is, in all respects, a novel that is carefully judged.

Irish Examiner

If you have any unanswered letters on your desk, McEwan's latest will have you grabbing your pen pronto.


The Children Act shows McEwan as a master of fiction who strives to teach us how to live.

Olivia Cole, GQ Magazine UK

Powerful and moving.

Sir David Bell, Times Higher Education

Taut, sparing and effortless, this is another exquisitely wrought novel from the master of the novella.

Good Book Guide

It explores the tension between cool-headed secularism and ardent belief. It is at times preposterous - and yet it has a magical readability and is slender enough to read in one intense, absorbing sitting.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman

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

A subtly musical arrangement of urgently topical issues.it may be read at a sitting, but resonates for much longer.

Lewis Jones, Spectator

It's absorbing and, almost a novella, it doesn't outstay its welcome.

Nick Bevan, Times Higher Education

Definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Natalie K. Watson, Church Times

This is a wonderful read with sharp, crystalline prose and, together with a superb moral dilemma, this is a beautiful and moving story.

Bath Chronicle

Offering a window into a compelling world of life or death dilemmas, this is told in prose as polished as you'd expect.

Daily Mail

The book is bursting of beautiful writing. You'll want to read it all over again.

Kirsty Brimelow, The Times

A story of human behavior told in a raw, uncluttered, unforgiving way.

Cambridge News

Renowned author McEwan manages to surprise throughout this book, right to the last page.

Mayfair Magazine

A story of human behavior told in a raw, uncluttered, unforgiving way - and we could all have done with another couple of hundred pages.

Cambridge Magazine

McEwan writes in taut, sparing and effortless prose.

Good Book Guide

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


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

Ian McEwan writes stories of exquisite precision and clarity. This one is ace.

William Leith, Evening Standard

A page-turning novel

John Koski, Mail on Sunday

As one has come to expect, McEwan sets up the moral issues with delicacy and precision.

John Sutherland, The Times

Ian McEwan is at his most compelling with the story of Fiona Maye. Awesome

Marcus Field, Independent

A wonderfully readable and thought-provoking book

Kathryn Atkins, Bristol Magazine

A short novel that will linger in your mind for a long time

Woman's Weekly

Another beautifully written masterpiece


relevant, emotive, moving, this is beautifully written and a guaranteed page turner

Matthew Smith, H Edition

One of our best authors at his best.

Murray Neil, Hertfordshire Life

One of my favourite authors. McEwan's fascination with judicial issues, with music and poetry, and with the moral conundrum of how far you place your religious beliefs above the life of someone you love, all feature in this book which will leave you thinking long after you have finished it.

Frances Colville, Frost Magazine

It's an enjoyable and often surprising novella.

Charlotte Heathcote, Daily Express

It asks fundamental questions in a sober, intelligent way about the choices we make and our blindness when it comes to our beliefs.

Francois Ozon, film-maker, Observer

Here he is again: vulnerable, insightful, passionate and utterly in control. He's amazing.

Robert Webb, Mail on Sunday

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The Children Act book club notes

A memorable book club choice: Ian McEwan’s The Children Act.

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