Posts From Author: henry perowne

Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act (Nan A. Talese, 2014) is a short novel, and this is, says writer Ian McEwan, a good thing: If we can make this fine distinction, it’s a short novel rather than a novella. But I do love this form. The idea of sitting down to a book that you could read in one sitting, or within three hours, much as you might go to a movie or an opera or a long play… You’ve got to establish characters very quickly, there’s room for one or two sub-plots. It’s a form I adore. — Ian McEwan on BBC Radio 4’s Today [listen here] At two hundred and twenty-one generously spaced pages, his thirteenth novel certainly fits the bill. But what The Children Act lacks in word count, it makes up for in the efficiency of its style and execution. McEwan’s protagonists have always known too little and too much. The precocious Briony Tallis, in Atonement, second-guesses rape where there’s none. Saturday‘s Henry Perowne is doubly fated by his understanding of his assailant’s Huntington’s disease. The plot of Enduring Love hangs on misunderstanding and uncertainty. In each of these books, as in The Children Act, what concerns McEwan is a kind of epistemology of “the instant.” Moments of […]
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