London, Trinity term one week old. Implacable June weather. Fiona May, a high court judge, at home on Sunday evening, supine on a chaise lounge, staring past her stockinged feet toward the end of the room, toward a partial view of recessed bookshelves by the fireplace and, to one side, by a tall window, a tiny Renoir lithograph of a bather, bought by her thirty years ago for fifty pounds. Probably a fake. Below it, centered on a round walnut table, a blue vase. No memory of how she came by it. Nor when she last put flowers in it. The fireplace not lit in a year. Blackened raindrops falling irregularly into the grate with a ticking sound against balled-up yellowing newsprint. A Bokhara rug spread on wide polished floorboards. Looming at the edge of vision, a baby grand piano bearing silver-framed family photos on its deep black shine. On the floor by the chaise lounge, within her reach, the draft of a judgment. And Fiona was on her back, wishing all this stuff at the bottom of the sea.The Children Act
by Ian McEwan
With a nod to Dickens, Ian McEwan begins The Children Act, his most recent (2014) novel. I've read several of McEwan's novels and enjoyed them all, though On Chesil Beach is my favorite. Just a few pages into this book, I already appreciate the gradual insight into Fiona's career and marriage. I think it could turn out to be a very good book for discussion.
Here is the goodreads summary:
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. 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: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.Have you read Ian McEwan?
Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.