At our May video chat, we discussed The Children Act by Ian McEwan. Fiona May is a High Court Judge in Family Court. As such, she has to deal with some searingly difficult cases. She had to rule in a case concerning conjoined twins. One twin’s organs were supporting both. If they remained conjoined – both babies would eventually die as the stronger twin’s organs failed from the strain. If they were separated, the weaker twin would die. Fiona carries the weight of her decision to separate the twins and it affects her marriage. As she is assigned to yet another gut-wrenching case, her husband informs her that he plans to have an extra-marital affair with a younger woman, hoping to recapture the sexual raptures of their youth. Fiona refuses to accept that and he leaves. She addresses the case before her and attempts to shut out the turmoil of her personal life. The case concerns a 17-year-old boy with leukemia. The hospital wants to give him blood transfusion to ensure the success of the drug treatment. He is refusing a transfusion and his parents are also because the teachings of their faith consider a blood transfusion to be a pollution of the body which would prevent him from going to heaven. Fiona goes to his hospital room, and finds a young man enthused about poetry and music and with a curious, lively mind. She returns to court and finds for the hospital. This decision has a continuing impact on her life. McEwan explores themes of love, religion, logic and parenting in a tautly structured, engaging short novel. ( Image with permission, Penguin Random House Canada.)
And here is a recommended read available from the Hamilton Public Library. To borrow it or place a reserve, go to https://hpl.bibliocommons.com .
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
In 1972, Jean McConville, a widowed thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was taken from her East Belfast apartment in Divis Flats by masked intruders, children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction occurred during the vicious conflict know as the Troubles. Everyone knew the Irish Republican Army was responsible, but no one would speak of it because of the climate of fear and paranoia that existed in every neighbourhood. Keefe takes the title of his book from a 1975 poem titled Whatever You Say Say Nothing by the Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. The IRA had a policy of killing informers within its own ranks and civilians who were suspected of providing information on them to the British. Keefe’s writing is so skillful that you may think that you are reading a detective story that leads to Jean’s body being discovered 31 years after her disappearance. It is a gut-wrenching look at a society polarized by violent guerrilla war before, during, and after Jean became one of the many to disappear. Winner of the 2019 Orwell Prize for political writing.
Note: The bookmobile will be at Eastwood Park on Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:00. There will be no access to the bookmobile to browse, but staff will be on hand for contactless returns and holds pickup.
Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .