The Children Act
The Children Act

MCEWAN, Ian. The Children Act.

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MCEWAN, Ian The Children Act London: Jonathan Cape, 2014.

8vo., quarter green Kaduna goatskin over patterned paper-covered boards designed by Edward Bawden; upper edge red; lettered in gilt to spine; maroon endpapers; housed in a matching custom-made slipcase with paper-covered and maroon cloth sides; lined in maroon felt; pp. [x], 1-215, [i]; a fine, unread copy.
Limited edition by the London Review Bookshop. This no. 28 of just 75 copies, signed by the author. With the binding designed by Andrew Stilwell and Patrick Roe and produced by the Fine Book Bindery, Finedon, Northants.
In an essay written for The Guardian, McEwan wrote of his inspiration for The Children Act: "Some years ago I found myself at dinner with a handful of judges – a bench is the collective noun. They were talking shop, and I was politely resisting the urge to take notes... How easily, I thought at the time, this bench could be mistaken for a group of novelists discussing each other's work, reserving harsher strictures for those foolish enough to be absent. At one point, our host, Sir Alan Ward, an appeal court judge, wanting to settle some mild disagreement, got up and reached from a shelf a bound volume of his own judgments. An hour later, when we had left the table for coffee, that book lay open on my lap. It was the prose that struck me first. Clean, precise, delicious. Serious, of course, compassionate at points, but lurking within its intelligence was something like humour, or wit, derived perhaps from its godly distance, which in turn reminded me of a novelist's omniscience."
The title is taken from the 1989 Children Act, and has been compared to Dickens' Bleak House, with similar settings and opening lines. In 2017, a film adaptation was released, starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci in the leading roles.