Welcome to our blog!

It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


I have been struggling for some weeks now to find a book that really engaged my interest. Several have caught my attention at the library, but having taken them home and settled down to read I quickly lost interest - two dimensional characters, predictable plot devices, bad sex scenes, inauthenticity. By the way, how is it that some books seem to draw our attention as they sit on the shelves in a library or in a bookshop? I am guessing that long experience has given serious readers a sort of sixth sense, but it hasn't been working for me lately!

Image result for McEwan Childrens actYesterday however I borrowed "The Childrens Act" by Ian McEwan and have finished it already. A short novel but beautifully constructed, full of interesting detail and insight and superb characterisation. Helpful I suppose that the main characters are about my sort of age, but not my background, and McEwan brings them to life superbly. The central character is a female judge, dealing with family issues, particularly things like the custody of children where there is dispute. In the book she has some very difficult cases to deal with, rather profound moral dilemmas, and at the same time is trying to cope with problems in her own marriage. The writing is often very powerful, especially in my view the scene where Fiona (the judge) is talking in hospital to a seriously ill teenage boy. I felt as if I was sitting in the corner of the room listening to their conversation. Now that is my idea of writing!

It may be time to re-read McEwan's other novels rather than searching for some elusive new experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment