In Your Ear – The Children Act

This post is part of In Your Ear, a series of audio book reviews by guest blogger Gia Batty, Nobles Director of Academic Support. For more information about In Your Ear, click here.

children actThe Children Act

by Ian McEwan

Narrated by Lindsay Duncan



The Children Act by Ian McEwan is this month’s choice for the Nobles faculty book club, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely consider listening to it!  If you’re new to audiobooks, this is a great one to start with because a) it’s short (just over six hours) and b) the narrator, Lindsay Duncan, will pull you in immediately as the beautifully haunting voice of the protagonist–British High Court judge, Fiona Maye.  Duncan is an award-winning Scottish actress who has narrated several audiobooks, including Pride and Prejudice and Tess of D’Urbervilles, and she’s perfect for Fiona.

The Children Act is the story of a well-respected judge, her intense, often sad work in the family court system, her failing marriage to a Geology professor, and her unlikely relationship with Adam Henry, a young boy from one of her cases.  Adam is a Jehovah’s Witness who refuses medical treatment for his leukemia, and Fiona must decide what is best for him.  It is the story of what becomes of Adam that holds this novel together and it is what made me take several extra long walks with my dog in order to find out what happened to him (and Fiona) in the end.

Whether it’s Fiona delivering her judgements in the courtroom, watching her husband leave her through the rainy window of her London flat, or singing the lines of a Yeats poem while Adam plays along on his violin in a hospital bed, narrator Lindsay Duncan is believable, confident and simply mesmerizing.

This is definitely a book to listen to–if only to hear Duncan say “chaise longue” and “Goethe” with her proper British accent.  More than that though,  Duncan’s steady voice, her interpretation of dialogue, and her ability to capture the feeling and emotion wrapped up in this little story was brilliant (please read with a British accent).  In other words, download it today.