It’s Ian McEwan’s own fault that you expect so much from his new novel, The Children Act. His books are always enjoyable, some, like The Child in Time and Amsterdam, have gone on to win prestigious awards. Others like Atonement have been adapted into successful movies able to attract stellar casts. He never shies away from the controversial and then goes about dissecting the subject with a brisk deftness.
The Children Act (the title comes from the legislation which governs the treatment of juveniles in the British judiciary system), is a subject ripe for his skilled touch. It centers on Fiona Maye, a successful High Court judge who is hearing an urgent case involving Adam, a 17-year old boy Jehovah’s Witness who, for religious reasons, is refusing medical treatment that could save his life, a decision that is supported by his
2014 promises to be as rich a literary year as 2013 with new books due out from authors such as Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates (February), Emma Donoghue (April), Haruki Murakami and possibly Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, the third part of her Wolf…
As seems to be the increasingcustom at this time of year I have listed below my top ten books for 2012. There is no method in the madness and they are not in any particuar order. They are simply the books which I enjoyed reading, would happily return to read them again and, perhaps most important of all, would not hesitate to recommend to my friends. The cut off date for 2012 was Christmas Day. Why is this important? Because over the past few days I have read two outstanding books. But more of them later.
Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.
All is not as it seems in this carefully layered garden set in Malaya just before the invasion by the Japanese. Not for the characters nor the reader. It is poetic and thrilling; a story that continues to haunt you long after the final page is turned.
Bring Up The Bones by Hilary Mantel.
The sequel to the highly successful Wolf Hall, this is a lavish re-take of the ill-fated marriage between Henry VII and Anne Boleyn as seen through the fox-like eyes of Oliver Cromwell.
The Yellow Bird by Kevin Powers
Debut novel from a returned US serviceman attempting to answer the repeated question : What was it like fighting in Iraq? It has been criticised for being over-lyrical (perhaps a result of Powers’ first love, poetry) but I have returned to this book a couple of times after first reading it, and it retains its initial impact.
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has emerged as favourite in the 2012 race to the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature with the bookies Ladbrokes quoting odds of 10/1. Not far behind, at 12/1, are Chinese author Mo Yan (actually a pen name for renowned dissident author Guan Moye, it translates as Don’t Speak)…