“London. Trinity term one week old. Implacable June weather. Fiona Maye, a High Court Judge, at home on Sunday evening.”
The BBC used to be very good at this kind of drama, a little unassuming well grounded plot that turns into a moral inferno. Fiona is on her second scotch. She is thinking about her third. Talisker. McEwan’s pointillistic prose is well suited to a mess of dots linking up north London details.
Husband Jack is also a whisky man, a bohemian academic who wants to run off with his silent student statistician from Muswell Hill. Couples who know each other so well become like siblings. I am like you brother now, he laments, asking for a last chance…but that is not the whole story, just a framing.
I might have preferred this, a frequent criticism, if he had been the judge and she had been the would be mistress for a sharper cut to the dramatic cloth. Too predictable perhaps these days for here it is Fiona who has married the law and the courts and is consumed by its own marital mores…and being lined up as a potential TV 9 oclock drama queen one suspects. You could hardly find a more eloquent application…