by Ian McEwan
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2014. 221 pages. Fiction.
Presiding as judge over family law in the London High Court, Fiona has passed down judgments in many high-profile, highly controversial cases. She has built an enviable reputation of fairness and intelligence. Now she faces the interesting case of a young 17-year-old boy about to die because his parents' religious beliefs forbid the treatment that is almost sure to save him. This case comes at a time of personal upheaval and what seems an important but not landmark case, is destined to be a turning point in Fiona's life.
Though I haven't read his entire back list, I believe this is my favorite of Ian McEwan's books. It is not a long read and, though certainly deep and thought-provoking, it moves along at a good steady pace. Fiona is not an immediately engaging character, but as the reader learns more of her past and her thoughts, she becomes more and more relatable. Her stern judge’s facade hides a very complicated and human woman and I found myself hoping she would find peace and happiness despite the difficulties of life.