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Book Salon
The Children Act

  • This month we're reading The Children Act by Ian McEwan. Our faculty host is Heather Hadlock.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "I love how the music in The Children Act invests Romantic and archetypal resonance into a modern legal tale."

    Heather Hadlock, associate professor of music

How to Participate

>> Read the interview transcript with this month's host, Heather Hadlock

>> Post a message to the online discussion group by emailing childrenact@discussions.stanford.edu 

>> Familiarize yourself with the Book Salon FAQs & Ground Rules

About this quarter's book selection

A fiercely intelligent, well-respected High Court judge in London faces a morally ambiguous case while her own marriage crumbles in a novel that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

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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About the Faculty Host