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Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks
  

Human Traces

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Bright young men bond in their teens and vow to become doctors to cure the brother of one. His infliction: schizophrenia, cruelly treated at that time. Both qualify and follow opposing sides of the developing science, one rational, one Freudian. This is an impressive work which details their long lives and the study of the early theories of psychiatry. It's beautifully written as one would expect, just, perhaps, a tad too long I felt.

If you like Sebastian Faulks you might also like to read books by Pat Barker, Sebastian Barry and Rebecca West.

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Synopsis

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks

Human Traces is Sebastian Faulksâ most ambitious novel to date, with scenes of great emotional power recalling his most celebrated work, yet set here on an even larger scale.

Set in the 19th century Human Traces explores the excitement of the time at the very beginning of psychoanalytic thought. Two friends, Jacques Rebière and Thomas Midwinter are united by an ambition to understand how the mind works and whether madness is the price we pay for being human.

As psychiatrists, their quest takes them from the squalor of the Victorian lunatic asylum to the crowded lecture halls of the renowned Professor Charcot in Paris; from the heights of the Sierra Madre in California to the plains of unexplored Africa. Their search is made urgent by the case of Jacquesâs brother Olivier, for whose severe illness no name has yet been found.

However, it is Thomasâs sister Sonia who becomes the pivotal figure in the volatile relationship between these two men; a relationship which threatens to explode with the arrival in their Austrian sanatorium of an enigmatic patient, Fräulein Katharina von A, whose illness epitomises all that divides them.

As the concerns of the old century fade and the First World War divides Europe, the novel rises to a climax in which the question of what it means to be alive seems to hang in the balance.

Vivid, moving and challenging in equal measure, Human Traces explores the question of what kind of beings men and women really are.

Reviews

Faulks is beyond doubt a master.
- Financial Times

One of the most impressive novelists of his generation.
- Sunday Telegraph


About the Author

Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks was born and brought up in Newbury, Berkshire. He worked in journalism before starting to write books. He is best known for the French trilogy, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) and is also the author of a triple biography, The Fatal Englishman (1996); a small book of literary parodies, Pistache (2006); and the novels Human Traces (2005) and Engleby (2007). He lives in London with his wife and their three children. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1993 and appointed CBE for services to literature in 2002. He lives in London with his wife and their three children.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th August 2005

Author

Sebastian Faulks

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Author's Website

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Publisher

Hutchinson

Format

Hardback
624 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780091794552

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