Fiona Maye is a High Court Judge in the family court. She is approaching 60 and has been married to Jack for 30 years. Reasonably happily she thought until one night Jack asked for her permission for him to have an affair. This leads Fiona to reevaluate her relationship with Jack and also to involve herself more than ever in her work.
Working in the family court Fiona regularly deals with the problems of others - people going through a messy divorce, custody battles, children being removed from the country illegally for instance. Then she has a case in which she needs to decide whether Adam, a seventeen year old boy, has the right to refuse a blood transfusion that will save his life. Adam's parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and he has been brought up to believe that having a blood transfusion is a sin. The complexities of making the decision, as well as the ramifications of that decision, form a major part of this novel by Ian McEwan.
This is a relatively short book - only 213 pages. It is beautifully written as it delves into complex relationships, difficult decisions and their consequences. This is definitely a book to try and read without interruption.