Author: Ian McEwan
Challenges: I Love Libraries
Description: 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. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: Through a number of sources I heard about this book, but I think it was Ann Kingman's excitement on Books on the Nightstand that really impressed upon me that I should read this book. And I wasn't disappointed.
While the book started a bit slow for me, there was enough of a hook to keep me wanting to read the book; it also didn't hurt that the language used in the book was such that it drew me into the tone of the book quickly. Even though I didn't enjoy the book from the start, it crept on me slowly so that by the end I didn't want the book to end; it sort of reminded me the course of a piano piece, which starts slowly but intensifies, as one goes through the piece.
I also liked how the writing is almost seamless, as it weaves Fiona's professional and personal life in a fluid and engaging way that it becomes like the piano pieces that she plays and also its a quiet and introspective novel that really made an impression on me.
Bottom line: While the book started off slow for me, the book made a deep impression on me. I really liked the use of words and was enthralled with how McEwan was able to enraptured me and other readers with this amazing novel. Highly recommended.
Pages for 2014: 23,004